If your baby was born with an ear deformity, you’re not alone. Researchers estimate up to 45% of children across the globe are born with some type of congenital ear deformity. While some of these deformities may resolve as your baby grows, others require medical intervention.
It’s imperative you speak with an expert as early as possible since it can be challenging for parents and pediatricians to know which types of ear deformities require treatment and which may correct themselves with time.
The good news is that when treated early, nonsurgical ear molding can correct different anatomical issues. At Brooks Plastic Surgery, pediatric plastic surgeon and anatomical expert, Dr. Christopher Brooks, offers innovative InfantEarTM molding for patients in Hollywood, Florida.
With advanced pediatric training at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Brooks has the expertise needed to diagnose your baby’s ear deformity and create a customized treatment plan to help painlessly reshape your baby’s ears.
About neonatal ear anomalies
When your baby is born with a deformed ear, it’s called a congenital (from birth) ear anomaly. There are many possible ear deformities including these common issues:
- Prominent or protruding ears: Ears that extend more than 2 cm from the side of the head
- Rim deformities: Ears with a helical (upper) rim that is folded, irregular, pleated, wrinkled, tight, or rolled
- Stahl’s deformity: Ears with a third fold creating a pointy appearance
- Ear tags: Ears with extra skin and cartilage
- Earlobe deformities: Ears that have extra lobes, skin tags, clefts, or odd shapes
Many ear deformities don’t cause physical health issues, but can lead to significant self-esteem issues and even trouble with the proper fit of glasses.
Ear malformations, which occur when some parts of the ear or all of one or both ears are missing, are typically more medically serious than deformities and may require surgery and a hearing aid to treat.
Understanding neonatal ear molding by InfantEar
The good news is that neonatal ear molding offers a nonsurgical, pain-free way to reshape your baby’s ears. When initiated within two weeks of birth, safe and effective InfantEar can permanently improve the appearance of outer ear deformities in as few as 2-3 weeks.
How InfantEar works
In the first few weeks after birth, your baby still has a high level of maternal estrogen. This helps keep your baby’s ears soft, pliable, and responsive to external molding. Dr. Brooks first evaluates your baby to determine if they are a candidate for the InfantEar System.
The external device is then applied right in the office and left in place for 2-3 weeks. The skin around the ear is cleaned, and a base plate is positioned. The molding device, called a conformer, is placed around the ear to reshape the soft cartilage, and the rim is then secured.
To further customize your baby’s ear correction, Dr. Brooks may inject silicone into the created ear folds between the conformers and rim piece to ensure they bind together. A cap and beanie help keep everything secure and in place during treatment.
After 2-3 weeks, Dr. Brooks checks the level of correction achieved and determines whether or not an additional molding device is needed to reach the aesthetic goals. A new device can be applied every 2 weeks until the optimal level of improvement is reached.
While your baby wears the device, be sure to keep it clean and free from moisture. Our practice recommends sponge baths and extra care while feeding to avoid irritation that may result if water or moisture drips under the mold.
Time is of the essence when it comes to neonatal ear molding, however. If the procedure is not started within the first two months of life, surgery becomes the only option for treating congenital ear deformities.
If your baby has an ear deformity, don’t wait to seek expert help. Contact pediatric expert Dr. Brooks and the team at Brooks Plastic Surgery by calling 954-256-5838 to schedule a consultation. Or you can request an appointment online at your convenience.