Microtia Services for Children

Children with microtia (the word means “little ear”) have a small, malformed, or missing outer ear. Microtia may be accompanied by the absence of the ear canal or a narrow ear canal, either of which can compromise hearing. Most babies with the condition, which is rare, only have one malformed ear.

At Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, our otolaryngologists—ear, nose, and throat doctors—collaborate with imaging specialists, geneticists, audiologists, and craniofacial specialists to develop treatment plans for children with microtia.

Expert Diagnosis and Advanced Treatment Options

Our otolaryngologists assess the severity of the microtia and determine whether the ear canal is present or malformed.

If a newborn hearing test shows hearing loss, our audiologists can further assess your baby’s hearing ability. Audiologists may discuss possible hearing amplification options, including a bone-anchored hearing aid, often called a BAHA, for your child.

Babies who have microtia may have other anatomic abnormalities. If these are likely to affect a child’s quality of life, we may recommend a consultation with a geneticist, who may be able to diagnose a craniofacial syndrome. If microtia is part of a larger syndrome, your child may see one of our doctors in craniofacial services.

Advanced Reconstructive Options

Our otolaryngologists may work with plastic surgeons at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital to offer the following reconstructive options for the malformed ear:

  • rib cartilage graft reconstructive surgery, in which our surgeons use some rib cartilage to sculpt and implant a new ear; this procedure is typically performed when children are 5 to 10 years old
  • ear canal reconstructive surgery, for a malformed ear canal
  • ear molding, a nonsurgical approach that uses tissue molding appliances in your child’s first few months of life to reshape the ear

Our doctors discuss with you which option is best for your child and provide you with the education, care, and support your family needs throughout the treatment process. Support services are available at Sala Institute for Child and Family Centered Care to help your child cope with microtia and recover from surgery.