Ear Deformities in Newborns
Conveniently located to serve Newport Beach & all areas of Orange County
Ear deformities are surprisingly common in newborns. It has been estimated that about 30% of newborn infants are born with ear deformities. About one-half of these deformities will self-correct within the first week of life. This leaves about 15% of infants with persistent congenital ear deformities. If these deformities are not addressed early on, the only method available to correct the deformity is surgery.
Some of the common deformities that are seen include: prominent ears (where the ears stick out too far from the head), cryptotia (where the upper portion of the ear is buried under the skin and there is not a groove behind the upper pole of the ear), Stahl’s ear or Spock’s ear (where there is a third crus in the upper ear that leads to a pointed upper ear), lop ear ( folding over the upper one-third or upper one-half of the ear), and lidding (where the rim of the ear is collapsed or not well developed).
Dr. Sundine is proud to announce that we now have the EarWell™ Infant Ear Correction System. It has been reported that using this system will result in good to excellent correction of ear deformities in 93% of infants. Using the EarWell™ system the deformity can be treated without the pain and associated costs of a surgical procedure while also minimizing the potential of psychosocial issues with teasing due to the deformity.
The principle that is involved in neonatal ear molding is that newborns have a high circulating estrogen level that they received from their mother and have similarly high levels of hyaluronic acid in the ear cartilage. As the maternal estrogen levels decrease over the next six weeks there is a corresponding decrease in the hyaluronic acid in the cartilage and the cartilage becomes more rigid and stable in shape. For this reason it is extremely important to start the molding process as soon as possible. The effectiveness of the procedure decreases dramatically if it is started after 3 weeks of age.
To perform the procedure a strip of hair is shaved around the ear to allow the EarWell™ device to adhere to the scalp. The EarWell™ cradle is then placed around the ear. There are multiple retractors that are then available to help shape the ear. The patient is then seen every 2 weeks to monitor the progress of the shaping. It generally takes 4-6 weeks to complete the molding.