When families are faced with a child with atresia and microtia, most are not familiar with the condition. Suddenly, parents may find themselves in the office of their pediatrician, being referred to other specialists and doing research on their own to get answers to the questions they have, as well as possible solutions on how to best help their child. This can be an overwhelming undertaking!
Because atresia and microtia (AM) are rare conditions, few doctors have experience in the evaluation and treatment of these conditions. The mixed messages from well-meaning professionals can be confusing and frustrating to patients and their families. Access to care and education in this area have been significant barriers to the world’s population at large.
In the early 2000’s, with the work being done in the field of atresia at the California Ear Institute and the increased utilization of the Internet and email, the scope of of information access for families began to grow. Dr. Roberson had been sought out for consultation on patients with atresia around the world, similarly to Dr. Reinisch’s experience and his work with the Medpor outer ear reconstruction and Dr. Brent with his work on cartilaginous microtia reconstruction.
In 2009, Dr. Roberson and Dr. Reinisch teamed up to hold their first international conference in Seoul, South Korea. Since then, these two surgeons continued to take it upon themselves to help educate and extend the best quality of care for people born with atresia and microtia around the world.
Since the initial conference in 2009, the international scope of their practice has grown. Atresia & Microtia Conferences are currently being held in 6-7 different countries each year in addition to the Let Them Hear Foundation’s Atresia & Microtia Conference held annually in the United States since 1997.
A typical international conference schedule includes a morning of lectures by Dr. Roberson and Dr. Reinisch covering various topics in atresia and microtia. The areas discussed in these lectures includes but is not limited to:
We recommend that both post-operative patients and patients who have not yet undergone surgery attend these conferences to hear the lectures, as new information and insights in the area of atresia and microtia continue to advance.
In the afternoon or day following the morning lectures, each attendee of the conference will be scheduled for 10-15 minute appointments with Dr. Roberson and separately with Dr. Reinisch and sometimes other AM team physicians. It is during that time where each person’s individual case is discussed and recommendations are given.
These things are recommended to bring to the appointments:
Our goal is that everyone who has the opportunity to attend a conference can walk away feeling well informed and confident in a plan moving forward. The benefits of the support from interacting with other families who are walking this challenging road of AM is not to be minimized either!
It is always a joy for the staff to check in on past patients that have undergone surgery and come back to the conferences to see us year after year. We feel very thankful to have been entrusted with the care of many around the world!