We arrive to bare shelves. In twelve hours we have a fully functional surgery center.

What is microtia?

What is Microtia? Micro = small; Otia=ear.  Microtia is a congenital deformity where the pinna (external ear) is underdeveloped; often referred to as “small ear”. Microtia can be unilateral (one side only) or bilateral (affecting both sides). One of the better known people to suffer from Microtia is KISS guitarist and frontman, Paul Stanley.

How is microtia repaired?

First, the cartilage from several ribs is removed through an incision on the child's chest. The cartilage is then meticulously carved and pieced together to form an ear framework. This framework is buried under the scalp and after the ear has healed, more surgeries are required to complete the reconstruction. This surgery demands precise surgical technique combined with artistic creativity.

What are cleft lips and cleft palates?

Cleft lip and cleft palate are facial and oral malformations which can cause children to not be able to breathe, speak or smile properly. A cleft lip is a physical split or separation of the two sides of the upper lip and appears as a narrow opening or gap in the skin of the upper lip. A cleft palate is a split or opening in the roof of the mouth. Cleft lip and cleft palate can occur on one or both sides of the mouth. Because the lip and the palate develop separately, it is possible to have a cleft lip without a cleft palate, a cleft palate without a cleft lip, or both together.

How are clefts repaired?

Surgery to repair a cleft of any kind is a highly individualized procedure that’s intended not only to close the defect, but also help restore function and a more normal appearance. Cleft lip and cleft palate surgery provides excellent results. For a cleft lip, the surgeon will trim the tissues and sew the lip together. To repair a cleft palate, the surgeon will make an incision on both sides of the separation, moving tissue from each side of the cleft to the center or midline of the roof of the mouth. This rebuilds the palate, joining muscle together and providing enough length in the palate so the child can eat and learn to speak properly.

Upcoming Missions

Currently, The HUGS Foundation performs missions in Ecuador, Guatemala and Vietnam.


We continue to prospect Peru sites and hope to add a mission to Peru in 2019.

Microtia Repair



Cleft Repair



© 2018 HUGS Foundation
973 East Ave., Rochester, NY 14607
Phone: 585.244.1000