J Pediatr Genet 2016; 05(04): 189-197
DOI: 10.1055/s-0036-1592422
Review Article
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Genetic Advances in the Understanding of Microtia

Craig Gendron
1  Craniofacial and Pediatric Plastic Surgery, Saskatoon Health Region of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada
,
Ann Schwentker
2  Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
,
John A. van Aalst
2  Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

30 August 2016

30 September 2016

Publication Date:
23 September 2016 (online)

Abstract

Microtia is a genetic condition affecting the external ears and presents clinically along a wide spectrum: minimally affected ears are small with minor shape abnormalities; extremely affected ears lack all identifiable structures, with the most extreme being absence of the entire external ear. Multiple genetic causes have been linked to microtia in both animal models and humans, which are improving our understanding of the condition and may lead to the identification of a unified cause for the condition. Microtia is also a prominent feature of several genetic syndromes, the study of which has provided further insight into the possible causes and genetic mechanisms of the condition. This article reviews our current understanding of microtia including epidemiological characteristics, classification systems, environmental and genetic causative factors leading to microtia. Despite our increased understanding of the genetics of microtia, we do not have a means of preventing the condition and still rely on complex staged, surgical correction.