CRANIOFACIAL | Ears

An Introduction

About 1 in 3 children are born with misshapen ears. Abnormal development of the ear anatomy can range from simple ear tags and small asymmetries to significantly prominent ears, microtia (underdeveloped) or anotia (no ear present). The unique cartilaginous structure of the ear can be molded early in life or surgically shaped later in life. Rib cartilage can be used to carve a new ear for those children born without one. It is best to discuss treatment options for your child’s ear anomaly early as some variances can be treated noninvasively in the first few weeks of life. Dr. Snider treats all types of ear anomalies and uses minimally invasive techniques to keep the scars as hidden as possible.

Ear Molding / Ear Well

In the first few weeks of life, your child has an increase of estrogens that allows the soft ear cartilage to be molded. Ear molding is a painless, nonsurgical procedure that can often eliminate more extensive corrective ear surgery in the future. Ideally, ear molding starts in the first week or two of life and typically continues for 4-8 weeks, depending on the severity of the deformity. Dr. Snider uses a combination of a commercially available molding system and orthodontic materials to reshape your child’s ears into a more natural contour that will last a lifetime.

Prominent Ears

Most children notice a difference in their ears in comparison to their peers around 5-6 years of age. This is about the time that the ears have completed the majority of their growth. If your child’s ears protrude more than 2 cm from his/her head and are too stiff for ear molding, ear pinning (or otoplasty) is an option. This procedure can be performed at any time, especially if your child’s ears have become a problem socially. Dr. Snider performs a minimally invasive technique to hide the scars behind the ear crease for an improved result. Otoplasty is an outpatient procedure that requires minimal aftercare, yet can provide significant and lasting results.

Microtia

Some children are born with microtia (small part of an ear) or anotia (no ear). If this is the case, Dr. Snider will sculpt a completely new ear for your child using his/her own natural tissues. She utilizes innovative techniques to create a mirror image of the unaffected ear in order to design a beautiful new ear that fits your child and can help restore his/her confidence.