Recap of Dr. Bonilla’s presentation: It is important to offer realistic expectations of the surgical reconstructions. It is important to stress to parents that surgical outcomes can be wonderful…but are not always a perfect science. It is our responsibility as surgeons to be truthful, realistic and caring. We owe this to parents. There are four options for reconstruction of the microtic ear:
  • Do nothing
  • Cartilage technique
  • Medpor technique
  • Prosthetic
The most important question to ask the surgeon:
  • How many of these microtia reconstructions do you perform on children?
  • Do you specialize only in children or do you operate on adults as well?
  • Do you specialize only in microtia or do you perform other plastic surgery operations in adults and children?
  • What are your complication rates?
Responsibilities as surgeons:
  • Offer patients all of the alternatives (even if it means another surgeon has more expertise in a certain technique)
  • Be truthful by offering the advantages and disadvantages of the surgical technique
  • Remind the parent that this is not a perfect science and complications can occur (there is no surgeon on the face of this earth that can or should say that every surgery will be perfect)
  • Do not push your technique on a parent
  • Let the parents decide on the best option for their child once they have had a chance to evaluate ALL options
  • Remember that neither the parent nor the surgeon is undergoing surgery….the child is!
On the topic of timing and number of surgeries:
  • There is absolutely no reason to rush a surgery
  • One less surgery does not necessarily make it better
  • Remember that the most important goal is the end result, so starting a surgery at an earlier age or pushing the envelope to do everything in one surgery may compromise the new ear
On the topic of insurance:
  • All offices have different billing practices
  • Must ask the surgeon how their office handles their billing
  • Surgeons that perform microtia surgery on a routine basis have special relationships with insurance companies
  • This relationship helps the patient and can lessen the financial burden
  • These children are a true blessing
  • They can conquer the world just like any other chil
  • We need to give them every opportunity to succeed
  • Never let a question or a concern go unanswered
  • Live life to the fullest