Microtia Symptoms & Causes

LIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke This

Contact the Microtia Program

Types and grades

Unilateral microtia occurs when only one ear is affected. Nearly 90 percent of children with microtia have the unilateral form. (When both ears are involved, it’s called bilateral microtia.)

There are two major types of microtia, which can vary in severity from child to child.


This is the most common type of microtia. The affected ear is mad up of just a small piece of skin and cartilage on the outside, but there is no ear canal.


This is the most severe type of microtia. If your child has anotia, it means that he/she is missing all of the external ear structures.

Why was my child born with microtia?

Unfortunately, there is no way to be sure. We know that microtia results from a problem with the ear’s development while a fetus is growing in the womb. Sometimes, microtia runs in families, or as part of a syndrome called hemifacial microsomia—but most of the time, it happens for no identifiable reason.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944