Microtia is a term applied to anyone born with an underdeveloped ear, and literally means ‘small ear’. In cases of microtia, the external auditory canal is generally absent and often bringing with it irregular developments within the middle ear. For these reasons, children born with microtia can have varying degrees of hearing loss.
There is a real need to enable greater patient and parent choice in cases such as microtia; investigating new ways of reconstructing the external ear, as the current treatment options bring with them risks and major surgery.
UCL Ear Institute’s research clinicians recognise the need for new and innovative materials and techniques for patients with microtia and are treating this as a priority. The research team headed up by Prof Martin Birchall at UCL is now looking into new materials and techniques to reduce the risks involved in using patients’ own rib cartilages or the synthetic material Medpor, such as invasive surgery, scarring and infection. Microtia research is an excellent example of UCL’s pioneering research into regenerative medicine.
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