Children's Hospital Colorado
Ear, Nose and Throat
Ear, Nose and Throat

The Microtia Clinic at Children's Hospital Colorado

A girl with black hair in a ponytail and wearing a black and white striped shirt hangs  over a large red ball.

The Microtia Clinic at Children’s Colorado welcomes children from birth to 21 years of age as new patients. The microtia team cares for the whole child – not just the condition. We are the only clinic dedicated to caring for kids with microtia conditions in the state of Colorado. At the Clinic, patients and their families get answers to questions about appearance, hearing loss, treatments and everyday life.

What is microtia/atresia?

Microtia and atresia affect how an ear looks and works. Children born with one or both of these conditions may have a smaller than normal ear and/or hearing loss. 

Compassionate care for the entire family

At Children’s Colorado, treatment for microtia centers on the entire family, because differences in appearance and hearing loss affect more than the patient. Dr. Kelley and team talk through family concerns, like a mother’s fears about her effect on the child during pregnancy.

“Even though we know scientifically that microtia and atresia conditions are not the mother’s fault, it is hard to convince the mother’s heart. She needs a good support system to remind her of these facts.” 

Dr. Peggy Kelley, MD

What to expect at your visit to the Microtia Clinic

Audiologist Dr. Hedman sits in the middle of two patients playing Jenga. The girl on the left as her black hair in a ponytail and is wearing a black and white striped shirt. The boy on the right has glasses and is wearing a brown shirt with white stripes.
Audiologist Dr. Hedman talks and plays with patients after Clinic.

At the Clinic, families discuss their child’s health needs and wishes with a team of microtia specialists. We offer treatment options and a unique plan for each patient. Appointments last two to three hours.

After meeting with our specialists, families meet and talk with each other about:

  • What growing up with microtia/atresia is like
  • Treatment choices
  • Everyday life

The care team at Children’s Colorado includes:

  • Board-certified pediatric ear, nose and throat (ENT) facial plastic surgeon
  • Audiologists (hearing specialist) trained to work with kids
  • Anaplastologist (ear prosthesis specialist)
  • Family consultant affected by microtia/atresia conditions
  • Additional resources as needed, including parent guides, a psychologist and a social worker who specialize in hearing loss

Our specialists will talk with you about:

  • How to support your child in his/her hearing and ear shape choices
  • Ways to help your child manage hearing loss
  • Building self-advocacy skills in social situations
  • Being different than other kids who have two “normal” ears

Children and families visit the Clinic every one or two years to learn about new research and to talk with each other. Regular visits support kids with microtia as they grow up and start to make personal choices about their ears and hearing. Visits also build confidence when kids talk with other families in a safe environment about growing up with microtia.

Why choose the Microtia Clinic at Children’s Colorado?

Early intervention empowers families

Experts in the Microtia Clinic see kids with microtia/atresia when they are infants, or as early as possible.

Seeing a specialist early:

  • Provides families with counseling
  • Enables patients to make choices about his/her ear
  • Introduces families to other children and adults with microtia/atresia
  • Educates families with current and accurate information
  • Helps parents form a plan to manage their child’s hearing 
  • Connects patients with other services, as needed

Children’s Colorado welcomes new patients regardless of prior care.

Pediatric trained experts in a kid-friendly environment

A boy with brown hair and glasses, and wearing a brown shirt with white stripes, smiles for the camera.

Since June 2010, the microtia team has seen over 250 patients. Dr. Kelley is a board-certified surgeon with more than 20 years of experience working with kids who have microtia.

Our team is specially trained to care for kids. Because every patient who comes into the Clinic is an infant, child or young adult, we provide compassionate care in a kid-friendly environment. 

Multiple treatment options to support personal choices

Our team understands that each child is unique, which is why we offer different rehabilitative and treatment options for microtia to meet individual needs and personal choices. 

Treatment options for the appearance of microtia include:

  • Leaving the ear natural, or as-is
  • Completing a multi-stage reconstructive rib graft surgery 
  • Creating a custom-made ear prosthesis
  • Hearing treatment options include hearing aids and assistive technologies that can be used with all three appearance treatment options 

Specific conditions we treat

Services offered at Children’s Colorado

  • Surgical reconstructions
  • Custom ear prostheses
  • Hearing tests and hearing aids
  • Imaging (CT scans)
  • Research and clinical trials
  • Referrals to other physicians/specialty clinics, as needed

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