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Newborn Ear Correction

NEWBORN EAR CORRECTION

Genetics, and ear positioning in the womb and shortly after birth can contribute to misfolded or prominent ears; and ear deformities do not resolve on their own in every child. Thankfully, newborn ear misfoldings and deformities can be corrected with nonsurgical reshaping if treated early enough.  The newborn baby’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 child’s life. Facial Plastic surgeon Dr. Inessa Fishman performs newborn ear correction by splinting or molding the baby’s ear with a device called Earwells, or custom designed splints. Treatment is performed over a period of 3-8+ weeks, and is painless and noninvasive.  The newborn ear correction treatment does not require anesthesia or sedation. With newborn ear splinting, Dr. Fishman successfully corrects misshapen or prominent ears in over 90% of newborn babies.

Newborn Ear Correction
in Atlanta, GA

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 avoid peer ridicule.
  • Newborn ear correction can allow a child to avoid corrective ear surgery, the associated anesthesia, and more involved recovery.

I feel so fortunate to have found Dr Fishman. She treated our daughter for ear wells when she was 2 months old. Every other plastic surgeon I spoke to said she was too old to be treated and they wouldn’t even see her. Our daughter was a success story however, and Dr Fishman quite possibly saved our baby girl from an expensive and painful surgery later in life. She is kind, knowledgeable, really takes pride in what she does. We couldn’t be happier with her or our daughters results. Thank you Dr Fishman!

- Beth, Mother of Newborn Non-Surgical Ear Correction Patient; Atlanta, GA 

Newborn ear correction is a non-surgical, non-invasive and painless procedure performed in the comfort of our clinic without any sedation or pain medications. As part of the Earwell treatment, Dr. Fishman trims a small strip of hair around the to-be-treated ear, and places an Earwell device or a specially designed custom splint onto the ear with the help of adhesive tape. She then reshapes the ear to a more satisfactory position and allows the device to stay on for 10-14 days. Dr. Fishman instructs the child’s caretakers to return to the clinic approximately every 2 weeks for changing the splint or to complete treatment.  Babies tend to feel most relaxed soon after eating; we recommend arriving to your appointment early, and with plenty of food for the baby, to make the appointment more pleasant and smooth.  Dr. Fishman also recommends having your baby photos taken before your consultation, as she shaves part of the baby’s hair before ear splinting.  

Made of soft silicone or flexible wires padded with silicone and tape, the ear splints do not interfere with the baby’s eating, sleeping, and comfort.  The ear canal is completely open during ear correction treatment, allowing the baby to hear her parents’ voices and all other sounds in a normal way.  

Newborn
Ear Correction
Treatment Details

Is Newborn
Ear Correction
Right For My Child?

Dr. Fishman most commonly performs non-surgical newborn ear correction on newborn infants up to 8 weeks of age. This treatment has a higher chance of success if performed earlier in life, ideally starting within the first 1-3 weeks of life.  Because of the time sensitive nature of newborn ear treatment, we ask parents and caregivers, Pediatricians, and all healthcare providers involved in the baby’s care to contact us or another practice experienced with newborn ear correctionas soon as possible after the baby’s birth. If you have questions about your baby’s ears, please call us at 678-974-8435.

Newborn Ear Correction Before + After

Are there side effects and risks to newborn ear correction?

There are few side effects to newborn ear correction, with the most common being mild skin redness and irritation from adhesive (glue) use. The next most common risk is failure to get desired results of treatment, which happens in less than 10% of treated kids.  Exceedingly rarely, infection of the ear or erosion of the ear cartilage may occur.  Newborn ear correction is overall a safe and low-risk treatment.

While some medical insurance plans cover the cost of treatment for newborn ear correction, our practice does not contract with insurance companies. We provide families and caregivers with the diagnosis codes and procedure codes necessary to file an insurance claim, upon request. Our practice offers a number of financing options to make treatment more affordable; and we are happy to discuss these with you after your consultation.

Will Insurance Pay for Newborn Ear Correction?​

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).

Infant Ear Correction Frequently Asked Questions

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 or not properly aligned.  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
  • 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 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 are unlikely to get better on their own, and may benefit from ear molding.

EarWell / Newborn Ear Correction Care Instructions

Please review these care instructions for your child’s newborn ear correction. Should you have any questions or concerns, call us at 678-974-8435, or text us at 678-990-7333.

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 calling 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.

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