There are sometimes ear anomalies that may be present at birth. The newborn may be missing elements of the ear, or all parts of the ear are present, but they may be abnormally shaped or positioned or have abnormal folds. Some of these conditions may self-correct over time, but others may not. There are ear anomalies that may be corrected non-surgically during infancy by a process called ear molding.
What is Ear Molding?
Offered by Dr. Kristen Yee—our board-certified plastic surgeon—ear molding is a treatment technique used during infancy to mold deformed ears into a normal shape. It utilizes a combination of ear molding devices and orthodontic molding materials to reshape the ear. Ear molding has been applied to a variety of congenital ear deformities with excellent results. Ear deformities that can be corrected with ear molding include protruding or prominent ears, constricted ear, cryptotia (buried ear or hidden ear), deformities of the outer rim of the ear (also called helical rim deformities), or a combination of these deformities.
Ear molding works best in the first few weeks of life when infant ears are soft and pliable. By 6 weeks of age, the ears become more rigid and less pliable. This is why early intervention is important. If neonatal ear deformities are recognized early enough, they can often be successfully treated by non-surgical ear molding, preventing the need for surgery later in life.
Because some ear deformities will self-correct over time, your child should be monitored closely for the first 7 to 10 days of life. If the shape or deformity of the ear doesn’t improve in the first week or two, non-surgical infant ear molding may be recommended as the most appropriate treatment.
If your newborn has any ear anomalies, please call or contact us online to schedule an appointment with Dr. Yee to discuss whether ear molding may be an option for your newborn.