Nearly 10% of children are born with congenital ear deformities. Some ear deformities are temporary, while others need medical intervention. If the deformity was a result of abnormal positioning during birth or while the infant was still in the mother’s womb, the misshapen ear may return to normal form as the child grows. But if the deformity was due to a genetic disorder, ear molding or reconstructive surgery would be necessary to correct it.
CranioUtah.com presents the following most common infant ear deformities:
- Stahl’s Ear – The ear has a pointy shape and has an extra cartilage fold in the schapa region of the ear.
- Constricted Ear – The helical rim or the outer part of the ear is tight, folded or wrinkled.
- Conchal Crus – The ear has an abnormal cartilage fold that divides the ear in half.
- Cryptotia – The cartilage framework of the ear is somewhat buried beneath the skin behind the ear or on the side of the head.
- Protruding Ear – The ear, regardless of its size, sticks out over 2 centimeters from the side of the head.
Typically, doctors, as well as the parents, need to wait until the child is 5 years old before they can decide to perform surgical correction of ear deformities. However, nonsurgical treatment, such as ear molding, is now available to improve ear deformities among infants. Three-week old babies can start wearing ear molds for 4 to 6 straight weeks. Parents just need to be aware of how to take care of their infant’s ears during the treatment.
As no one can predict if the infant ear deformity will self-correct, early intervention is necessary. If the ear molds were able to correct the deformity, the child does not have to undergo an invasive surgery.