Aural atresia refers to the absence of an external ear canal. When someone has aural atresia, there is a high incidence of malformation of the external ear and middle ear also, but the inner ear and auditory nerve are frequently normal. It is important not to forget the "normal" ear in patients who have one-sided Atresia as approximately 25% of these individuals may have a hearing loss in their best side also.
A narrowed ear canal (i.e. one where the eardrum can be viewed, but the canal is narrower than normal) is sometimes referred to as a stenotic canal, or canal stenosis.
Aural atresia most commonly effects just one ear (unilateral aural atresia), but can occur both ears (bilateral aural atresia).
Atresia is most frequently isolated, but can be a symptom of a larger syndrome, such as Treacher Collins, Goldenhar, Crouzon's, Alpert's, Pfeiffer, Klippel-Feil, BOR (Branchio-Oto-Renal) also known as Melnick-Fraser, 18-q chromosome, as well as Hemifacial Microsomia.
Atresia Repair surgery is to create a normal sized ear canal from either a stenotic canal or complete aural atresia is known as an "atresia repair" and is sometimes also referred to as a canalplasty.
January 2008 -Atresia Repair / Medpor now combined into ONE surgical procedure
Late January, 2008, Drs. Reinisch and Roberson (assisted by Drs. Colen and Lewin) combined to perform the world's first procedure where atresia repair and medpor auricular reconstruction were combined into a single surgical procedure. The early results from this combined procedure, which took approximately seven hours to complete, appear to be as good if not better than performing it in the traditional two, or occasionally three procedures.
This combined procedure was performed on a 3 year old boy with bilateral
microtia and atresia, adopted from China by a family living in Sacramento, California.
The advantages of the combined procedure are:
- Fewer separate surgical procedures under general anasthesia
- For families not living in the area, fewer trips to California (each
requiring an eight to ten day stay)
- No three to four month waiting period between surgeries
- The use of a single skin graft (taken from the skull) for both
procedures, eliminating the need for
multiple skin grafts from the thigh or abdomen
To read a full account by the patient of this procedure including surgery photos, please visit
Drs. Reinisch and Roberson plan on offering this combined atresia repair and medpor auricular reconstruction procedure once per month at the Waverley Surgery Center in Palo Alto California.
Learn more about Atresia Repair at www.AtresiaRepair.com