Newborn Ear Correction in Sandy Springs and Atlanta, GA
Genetics and ear positioning in the womb and shortly after birth can contribute to misfolded, misshapen, or prominent ears. The newborn child’s ear cartilage is soft and pliable due to high circulating levels of maternal estrogen, and this allows for reshaping or molding the ear without surgery within the first few weeks of the baby’s life. Dr. Fishman performs newborn ear correction by splinting or molding the baby’s ear with a device called Earwells, Earbuddies or specially designed splints. Treatment is performed over 3-6+ weeks, and is painless and noninvasive. With newborn ear splinting, Dr. Fishman successfully corrects misfolded or prominent ears in over 90% of newborn cases.
Benefits of Newborn Ear Correction
- Newborn ear correction is a painless, non-surgical and non-invasive procedure similar to putting on a Band-Aid.
- Newborn ear correction can treat a wide variety of external ear deformities and abnormalities.
- Newborn ear correction can allow a child to forego ear-related peer ridicule.
- Newborn ear correction can allow a child to avoid ear correction surgery.
Newborn Ear Correction: Treatment Details
Newborn ear correction is a non-surgical, non-invasive and painless procedure performed in the office without any sedation or pain medications. Dr. Fishman trims a small strip of hair around the treated ear, and places an Earwell device or a specially designed splint onto the ear with the aid of adhesive tape. She then reshapes the ear to a more satisfactory position with the help of the placed splint, and allows the device to stay on for approximately 2 weeks. Dr. Fishman instructs the child’s caretakers to return to her clinic approximately every 2 weeks for changing the splint or to complete treatment.
Is Newborn Ear Correction Right For My Child?
Dr. Fishman most commonly performs non-surgical newborn ear correction on newborn infants up to 2-3 months of age. This treatment carries a higher chance of success if performed earlier in life — ideally starting within the first 1-3 weeks of life; it is time-sensitive and can take several weeks or longer to achieve the optimal treatment result. If you have questions about your baby’s ears, please contact Aviva Plastic Surgery as soon as possible.
During Newborn Ear Correction Treatment
After Dr. Fishman places an ear splinting device onto your child’s ear(s), you should adhere to these instructions:
- Keep the splint dry, and avoid water, breast milk, formula, and spit-up around the splint.
- Examine the ear and splint 1-2 times a day to look for loosening of the splint, drainage, or a change in the ear skin color.
- Contact Dr. Fishman should the ear have a red or white (blanched) color; if the splint has gotten wet; if the splint appears loose and is coming off the skin; or if you have any questions or concerns.
- Reinforce the splint with paper tape as needed (Dr. Fishman will instruct you on this during treatment).
What are the Side Effects and Risks of Newborn Ear Correction?
There are few side effects to newborn ear correction, with the most common being redness and mild skin irritation from adhesive use. Very rarely, infection or erosion of cartilage may occur. Occasionally, there is failure to achieve the desired result. Overall, newborn ear correction is overall a safe and low-risk treatment.
Will Insurance Pay for Newborn Ear Correction?
Some medical insurance plans may cover the cost of treatment for newborn ear correction. However, our practice is out of network with all insurance plans. Some families choose to submit claims to their insurance companies, and we can help you gather the necessary information for this. To help cover the cost of treatment, we offer several financing options in our practice; we are happy to discuss these with you after your consult.
MEET WITH ATLANTA'S LEADING PLASTIC SURGEON, DR. INESSA FISHMAN,
EarWell/ Newborn ear correction care instructions
NEWBORN EAR CORRECTION CARE INSTRUCTIONS
- EarWell™ is affixed to your baby’s skin by a special medical adhesive designed to maximize adhesion and minimize trauma. It will hold the EarWell™ in place for approximately 10-14+ days.
- Inspect the cradle daily to verify its continued adhesive skin bond. When you notice that the cradle adhesive begins to separate from the skin, call Aviva Plastic Surgery to schedule an appointment. During the appointment a new set of EarWell™ cradles will be re-applied.
- After phoning Aviva Plastic Surgery for an appointment, use paper tape to temporarily secure the EarWell™ to the skin. Cut a small piece of tape from the roll (3 inches or less) and apply over the top of the EarWell™ and then onto the skin of your child. If the area of separation is larger than the width of the tape, use additional pieces of tape to secure it to the skin.
- There are occasions when one or both EarWell™ cradles prematurely separate from the skin. This can occur when a child becomes unusually active or restless resulting in vigorous movement of arms and shoulders. Upon observing such separation use the tape to secure the cradle to the skin in the manner described above.
- You may help secure a loosened ear device with the use of a headband or hat; use these after taping. Contact Dr. Fishman upon securing the EarWell™.
- If the EarWell™ becoming temporarily dislodged, or more than 50% of the adhesive surface is dislodged, DO NOT attempt to tape it back in place. Instead, call Aviva Plastic Surgery to schedule a return appointment.
- Because adhesives are an intricate part of the EarWell™ attachment, it should remain as dry as possible.
- It is recommended that you DO NOT wet the EarWell™ or attempt to wash it.
- EarWell™ is made of a clear material to permit ear visibility.
- If the ear becomes unusually red or white (blanched) in color, report it to Dr. Fishman.
- Care should be given to keeping the cradle interior clear of milk, formula, or vomit. If any of these fluids penetrate to the inside of the cradle, make an appointment with Dr. Fishman for removal of the top shell and cleaning of the ear and the EarWell™ components.
- Particular attention should be devoted to protecting the cradle interior from the presence of any vomit, milk, formula, and other liquids.
- The top cover of the EarWell™ should only be removed by a physician. Please do not remove or clean it. If the cover becomes dislodged, please contact Aviva Plastic Surgery within 24 hours.
Should you have any questions or concerns, contact Dr. Fishman at 678-974-8435.
Infant Ear Correction Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Most pediatric ear deformities are congenital, which means they are present at birth; deformities specifically refer to conditions where all the pieces of the external ear are present, but may be misfolded. Deformities differ from malformations, where parts of the ear may be very small or absent. Malformations may be more commonly associated with genetic disorders, such as Goldenhar or CHARGE syndromes.
Newborn ear deformities may result from genetic predisposition or positioning in the womb. The causes of some newborn ear deformities are not well understood.
Common infant ear deformities include:
- Overly prominent or “stuck out” ear
- Constricted ear deformity
- Ear lidding
- Stahl’s ear (also called “Spock” ear or elf ear)
- Cryptotia or so-called “hidden” ear
- Mixed ear deformity
With splinting or molding treatment using a medical device, many newborn ear deformities can be treated. Ear molding relies on the soft and pliable nature of the newborn ear cartilage, which stiffens as levels of maternal estrogen decrease in the baby’s system. For cases where the deformity persists after the first few weeks of life, surgery may be the only treatment option.
Studies looking at newborn ear deformities have shown that approximately 1/3 of mild ear deformities improve or resolve without intervention in the first week after birth, and 2/3 of all protruding ears or deformities will remain the same or even worsen with time. Ears that are either compressed or folded at birth can naturally unfold and regain a more normal shape, but ears that appear persistently protruding or deformed beyond the first week of life may benefit from ear molding.