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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

‘Timely ear reconstruction, a much-needed help for patients’

Ahead of the National Microtia Awareness Day (November 9), Dr Ashesh Bhumkar, a Thane-based ENT surgeon, held an interactive session with parents on the decision-making algorithm in Microtia-Atresia

mumbai Updated: Nov 09, 2019 01:26 IST
Nibandh Vinod
Nibandh Vinod
Hindustan Times
Dr Ashesh Bhumkar, who has treated more than three lakh patients and performed more than 15,000 ear surgeries, said both parents and children  remain vulnerable to unwanted attention.
Dr Ashesh Bhumkar, who has treated more than three lakh patients and performed more than 15,000 ear surgeries, said both parents and children  remain vulnerable to unwanted attention. (HT Photo)
         

This 10-year-old from Thane has seen more challenges than average kids of her age. Born with a missing outer ear and ear canal on both sides – conditions known as Microtia and Atresia – she began staying aloof in school. As her self-esteem took a hit, her parents took her to Dr Ashesh Bhumkar, a Thane-based ENT surgeon, who suggested step-by-step ear reconstruction surgeries. A year later, the girl can hear clearly, with both her ears reconstructed using her rib cartilage.

Ahead of the National Microtia Awareness Day (November 9), Dr Bhumkar held an interactive session with parents on the decision-making algorithm in Microtia-Atresia, at Taj Mahal Hotel, Colaba. “It is important for parents to try and raise their child with confidence and self-esteem for days when they feel upset when someone questions or teases them,” he said. “The surgery is complex. Earlier, it was done in three-five sittings. With technical advancements in medicines and equipment, doctors are now able to provide the entire procedure in just one go.”

Most patients hide their condition by growing hair and letting it loose over the ears. Dr Bhumkar, who has treated more than three lakh patients and performed more than 15,000 ear surgeries, said both parents and children  remain vulnerable to unwanted attention. “There is no particular cause behind this condition. It does not affect babies of those who are suffering from this genetic disorder. There is a need for awareness. If people learn about this, they will be kind and accepting.”

A Microtia-Atresia Parents Society (MAPS) has also been formed with an aim to help the patients get access to the best the current medical science has to offer. “With its communication offices in Mumbai, Dubai and Palo Alto, California, MAPS is a platform to share experiences, discuss problems and help each other in every possible way,” he said. 

 KNOW THE CONDITION

Microtia is a condition in which the outer ear (or Pinna) is underdeveloped, even missing

It is a rare genetic condition seen in one in 10,000 to 12,000 births  

Atresia is a condition in which the ear canal is missing