At Wellspring Craniofacial Group, our Austin doctors have a lot of experience when it comes to microtia repair. In fact, our surgeons are among the few who perform this surgery. As a result, we have seen many children come through our practice in need of microtia repair and leave with a brand new, natural-looking ear (or ears). Microtia repair, in fact, rates as one of our favorite surgeries because it helps set your child on a great course for the future.
When the pinna or external ear is underdeveloped at birth, it is called microtia. This congenital anomaly can affect one or both of your child’s ears. Commonly, microtia repair relies on living tissue taken from your child’s rib or by the MEDPOR technique, a high-density polyethylene framework that is built and attached surgically. Both offer natural-looking results, and both have unique benefits and drawbacks.
Let’s examine the exclusive benefits of using living tissue for your child’s microtia repair to see why this may be the better option.
Living Tissue May Last Longer
MEDPOR has been used successfully in microtia repair since 1991, making it a relatively new option. Because of this, we don’t know the lifespan of MEDPOR. In comparison, we do know that living tissue can last a lifetime, maintain its shape forever, and human tissue is simply a more organic option.
Living Tissue Feels More Lifelike
Our Austin doctors use both methods successfully, and both methods offer a natural-looking ear. However, an ear reconstructed using natural tissue may feel more lifelike when touched. This is something that will likely be important to your child later in life when dating and forming peer relationships.
Living Tissue May Be More Resistant to Infection
Infection is not common in either repair method, but living tissue may be less susceptible to infection than MEDPOR. Living tissue is simply more adept at healing naturally. In other words, your body expects natural tissue and may be more accommodating to this method of microtia repair as a result.
Weighing Your Options
There are benefits and drawbacks when using living tissue to repair microtia. Drawbacks include a longer wait for surgery, often after school age, and a secondary procedure to take tissue from the rib area.
Our Austin doctors will walk you through your options, point out the pros and cons of both approaches, and be available to answer any questions you may have along the way.
Our team approach often includes an audiologist, an ENT, and a geneticist. The latter is because sometimes microtia is due to syndromes like Treacher Collins, Goldenhar, or others. While we coordinate with the best specialists, those who share our goals in the care of children, we remain your main point of contact. In other words, we take care of everything behind the scenes so you can concentrate on your child’s care and well-being.
For more information, contact our office in Austin at (512) 600-2888 or get in touch through our contact page.