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Microtia (meaning 'Small ear') is a congenital deformity of the outer ear. Over 90 % of the time, microtia is unilateral, meaning only one ear is affected, but it can also be bilateral, affecting both ears. Boys are affected more than girls, and in unilateral microtia, the right side is affected more than the left. Microtia occurrence in the general population is approximately one in 8,000 globally, but ranges wildly depending on ethnic group in question -- from less than one in 1000 in some indigenous groups in Mexico, the US and South America, to one in 2100 in the Japanese/Korean community, to 1 in 20,000 in the overall Caucasian community.



There are four grades of microtia:

  • Grade I: A slightly small ear with identifiable structures and a small but present external ear canal
  • Grade II: A partial or hemi-ear with a closed off or stenotic external ear canal producing a conductive hearing loss
  • Grade III: Absence of the external ear with a small peanut vestige structure and an absence of the external ear canal and ear drum
  • Grade IV: Absence of the total ear or anotia.
  • Grade III is most common, and can be corrected by surgery.

For more information on the rib graft approach to microtia reconstruction, and the experience of world-renowned microtia reconstruction specialist Dr. Burt Brent, please visit www.earsurgery.com. CEI physicians and Dr. Brent have worked together for over 35 years coordinating the care required to create ear canals and outer ears for children and adults with congenital aural atresia and/or microtia.



California Ear Institute