Ear Molding (EarWell, Infant Ear) Washington DC/McLean/Tyson’s Corner
Ear molding has recently gained popularity as devices that facilitate the molding process have become available. Dr. Baker was the first physician in the DC Metro region to use the EarWell device and was also the first physician to use the Infant Ear device; thus he has the longest experience in ear molding in the DC region. As past President of the American Academy of Pediatric Plastic Surgeons, he has written articles for the American Academy of Pediatrics as well as the public introducing the concept of ear molding to pediatricians and parents to raise awareness.
AAP Ear Molding November 2016
PRS Discussion on Ear Molding
Ear Molding for Newborn Babies With Ear Deformities
Fig 2.The area upon which the ear mold is placed is shaved (new parents can keep the hair from the first haircut!)
Congenital ear anomalies are common and can be difficult to treat. Traditionally, surgery has been necessary to treat ear anomalies such as Stahl’s ear, cryptotia, cup ear, lop ear, and protruding ears. Unfortunately, these patients are not candidates for surgical correction until 7-8 years of age. This delay in treatment may result in patient and/or parental anxiety. Additionally, when surgical correction is performed it is very challenging surgery, and the best surgical results may fall short of patient expectations.
Ear molding uses a medical device that non-surgically and painlessly corrects many infant ear deformities, regardless of type or severity. It has been designed to properly and permanently reshape the ear during the narrow time window when circulating maternal estrogen levels remain high in the child. Best results are achieved when Ear molding therapy is initiated within the first two to three weeks of life.
The incidence of ear deformities is substantially higher than what most of us had believed. Several published studies indicate that the frequency of occurrence actually exceeds 15% of all newborns, and may be as high as 25%. Most ears do not significantly self-correct; documentation now indicates that 70% of the ears deformed at infancy either stay the same or get worse.
This nonsurgical molding treatment eliminates the need for future surgery in most cases. Even if a child needs surgery when he is older, the surgery will be less complicated than if the ear molding was not instituted, and the ear will look better until surgical correction is an option (7-8 yrs of age) reducing psychosocial problems. The procedure is typically covered by most insurance plans, eliminating most out-of pocket parental expense other than your insurance plan’s deductible or co-payment.
It is important to note that this system is designed to correct significant ear anomalies. Minor discrepancies between the ears may be treated with this technique but it is important to note that ear molding will not achieve perfect symmetry between the ears. It will make a major abnormality appear more normal.
If your newborn’s ears appear deformed or misshapen, please make an appointment to see Dr. Baker within the first 2 weeks of life so the ear anomaly can be corrected without surgery and likely, with a better result for the patient.