Microtia is a growing concerning problem among new parents. Though this is a rare condition, affecting only 1 out of 5000 births, parents seem to be worried. People are not aware of what is Microtia, and how it affects some kids around the world. The good news is there are successful treatment options available for microtia. Parents are relieved to know that the condition or deformity of the ear can be reversed.
What is it?
It is a congenital deformity that affects the outer ear of the newborn. The condition can be assessed during the first trimester of pregnancy when scans show underdeveloped ears. When a child suffers from microtia, the appearance of their ears varies. In the majority of the cases, the outer ears are smaller in size. In some cases, there is a total absence of the ear canal or a significantly narrow ear canal. Often the ethnic background contributes to microtia among newborns.
It is categorized into four stages according to their severity and challenges.
- The first-grade microtia demands minor changes in the form or shape of the outer ear. The ear appears smaller than normal. But the good part is that the other vital functions of a normal ear are there.
- The grade-two microtia also referred to as conchal type microtia highlight a narrow ear canal. This condition is called canal stenosis. An individual suffering from grade-two microtia suffers from missing out on some features of ears but the lower 2/3rd is intact.
- Grade three is the most common form of microtia that newborns suffer from. The only remaining portion is the peanut-shaped small portion of the ear lobe. It is in this stage that the ear canal is also missing completely. This stage is also referred to as lobular type microtia.
- In the last stage, the external ear is completely missing. Also referred to as anotia, this is the most severe case , and is rarely found among patients.
Parents must have a basic understanding of what is Microtia, the four stages, and the treatment options available. This can help them to deal with the condition better and not panic about their child’s future.
What causes it?
In the majority of the cases, the exact reason behind the condition is unknown. This is a rare condition, which also misses out on during prenatal ultrasound scans. Some of the possible reasons are mentioned below.
- Oxygen levels dropping during the first trimester might cause the ear to remain underdeveloped.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs during pregnancy. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a known reason behind microtia in newborn babies.
- Consuming Accutane and methamphetamines during pregnancy is also the reason behind ear deformity.
- Blood supply blockage due to pressure from the umbilical cord can be a reason behind the undeveloped external ears among newborns.
What is Microtia, and how it affects the future of a child is a major concern among the parents. Though successful treatment options are available, parents seem to be still worried. It has been found that in the majority of cases microtia is not genetic and can affect any child due to varying reasons.