Understanding Microtia Surgery For Adults

April 9, 2024 0 Comments

Microtia Surgery for Adults: Knowing the Systematics

Microtia is a congenital condition that affects around 1 in every 8,000-10,000 births, causing a deformity of one or both ears. This condition can significantly impact an individual’s hearing, quality of life, and self-image. Fortunately, medical advancements have allowed the development of successful surgical procedures to correct microtia. It’s essential to understand that although microtia typically is addressed during childhood, adults can also undergo this surgery with high success rates. This article will focus on microtia surgery for adults, covering its various aspects, including diagnosis, surgical options, possible risks, and recovery.

Recognizing Microtia

Microtia is a condition where the external ear is either significantly smaller than normal, abnormally shaped, or entirely absent. It occurs as the ear is developing during the initial stages of pregnancy and can be detected through a routine ultrasound. With this condition, adults might face several challenges ranging from hearing difficulties to self-consciousness about their appearance.

Adult Microtia Diagnosis

In adults, microtia is diagnosed based on a physical examination of the ear’s structure and size. Specialists like audiologists and otolaryngologists may conduct hearing tests to assess the extent of hearing loss. An evaluation of the ear canal and middle ear structures using CT scanning can also be done to plan the surgery more effectively.

Surgical Options for Adults

There are two primary surgical options to correct microtia in adults; ‘Medpor’ synthetic graft surgery or autogenous rib cartilage graft surgery. Deciding which procedure is the best match for an individual depends on a host of factors, including patient preference, surgeon’s expertise, and the condition of the patient’s ribcage and chest wall.

Medpor surgery uses a porous polyethylene material that is carved into the ear’s shape. The advantage of using Medpor is that it does not require cartilage harvesting from the patient’s own body, which makes the surgery less invasive.

In contrast, rib cartilage graft surgery involves the careful extraction of the patient’s rib cartilage to sculpt a new ear. This procedure is considered the traditional approach and has been in use for several decades. The key advantage of this method is the use of the patient’s natural tissues, reducing the chance of a severe response from their immune system.

Possible Complications and Risks

Like any surgical procedure, microtia surgery for adults can count on potential complications and risks. These can include infection, bleeding, poor wound healing, asymmetry, and dissatisfaction with the aesthetic outcome. Patients must thoroughly discuss these potential risks with their surgeon before deciding on the procedure.

Recovery and Post-Operative Care

Recovery from microtia surgery can vary considerably based on surgical techniques used, the individual’s overall health, and their body’s healing capacity. Typically, patients might need multiple weeks to months to fully recover. During this period, it’s crucial to follow post-operative care guidelines, which may include wound care, pain management, and avoiding strenuous activities.


Microtia surgery for adults provides a ray of hope to those who were not able to undergo corrective surgery during childhood or whose condition worsened over time. It’s a significant step towards improving not just an individual’s appearance but also their self-esteem and hearing functionality. However, the decision to undergo surgery requires a thorough understanding of the procedural details, risks involved, and the right expectations for its outcome. It is also imperative to engage the services of an experienced surgeon for the best possible results.