Humanitarian Work – Microtia Repair for Children in Guatemala

Dr. Scott Thompson, Dr. David Lieberman & Dr. Vito Quatela
Dr. Scott Thompson, Dr. David Lieberman & Dr. Vito Quatela

Giving back to our local community, as well as bringing our unique surgical skills to underserved areas around the world, is a central part the mission of Lieberman & Parikh Facial Plastic Surgery.

Recently, Dr. Lieberman spent 10 days in Antigua, Guatemala with the HUGS Foundation repairing the ears of children with microtia, a congenital deformity resulting in a small, malformed or absent external ear.

On intake day, the team evaluated 70 kids and was able to schedule operations for 60 patients over the next 9 days.  Reconstruction of microtia is one of the most demanding operations in facial plastic surgery.  For Dr. Lieberman, it’s was an amazing experience but incredibly busy and intense.

The first stage of microtia repair surgery is when the surgeons take rib cartilage from the chest (see photo below) to start the process of making a new right ear.

During the second stage of microtia repair, the ear is elevated from the scalp to give it a more natural appearance.  Incisions are made behind the ear to release the ear from the scalp, and the cartilage framework is positioned up to give it a natural appearance.  Using a skin graft, surgeons cover the backside of the newly lifted ear.

Sometimes, additional minor stages are performed to improve the shape of the ear or lift the ear even further away from the scalp.  Surgeons also either remove hair follicles from the part of the scalp used to make the ear.The most important part of this stage is to put the ear in a symmetric position to the other side.

Dr. Person, patient, Dr. Lieberman

This is a girl that Dr. Pearson and Dr. Lieberman did a first stage surgery on two years ago and made some final adjustments during this last trip.

“So nice to be able to care for these kids year after year,” said Dr. Lieberman. ” This trip was particularly special as I got to operate with both Dr. Thompson Utah Facial Plastics and Dr. Quatela of The Quatela Center For Plastic Surgery.

“Vito Quatela was my fellowship director. He taught me how to operate and what it means to dedicate your life to caring for patients. I am forever grateful for his mentorship.”

For more information on the pro-bono work Drs. Lieberman and Parikh do, learn more or send us an email.