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Mi­cro­tia is a con­di­tion where the ex­ter­nal ear, known as the pinna, does not form prop­erly. If one ear is af­fected, it is called uni­lat­eral mi­cro­tia, in both ears it is bi­lat­eral. A com­pletely miss­ing outer ear is called acro­tia. Some­times, the in­ner ear is not af­fected, but if it is hear­ing loss can be more se­vere (and cochlea im­plants be­come a pos­si­bil­ity). Sci­en­tists know that the con­di­tion can be caused by a sin­gle ge­netic de­vi­a­tion, and also by tak­ing isotretinoin, often pre­scribed for acne, in preg­nancy. It is not in­her­ited or caused by eat­ing any par­tic­u­lar type of food dur­ing preg­nancy. Mi­cro­tia where only the outer ear is af­fected causes a con­duc­tive hear­ing loss. Some­times, mi­cro­tia is part of a syn­drome of other con­di­tions where the face looks asym­met­ri­cal. Surgery can usu­ally help im­prove hear­ing and ap­pear­ance.

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