Your newborn child’s right ear seems larger than the left. A noninvasive procedure can bring the two into balance.

Some children enter the world with ears that are abnormally shaped—the top of one or both may be pointed or folded over—or stick out prominently. Genetics or unusual positioning of the head in the womb or after birth can cause ear deformities.

Ear molding—guiding the ear’s growth with specialized putty—may result in a more symmetric appearance and eliminate the need for surgery.

“The sooner a child with an ear deformity sees a plastic surgeon, the better,” says Albert Woo, MD, a Washington University plastic surgeon, chief of pediatric plastic surgery and director of the Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Institute at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “Ear cartilage is more malleable right after birth, and the best results are seen when molding is started within the first days of life. Studies performed at St. Louis Children’s Hospital show children who start ear molding before 6 weeks of age have much better results than older children, but even older kids with normal-sized ears and a specific deformity may be candidates for nonsurgical treatment.”

Placement of the molding putty is tailored to the particular ear and the nature of the deformity. Patients follow up weekly until the desired result is achieved, frequently in four to six weeks.

To schedule an evaluation for ear molding at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, call 314.454.KIDS (5437) or toll-free at 800.678.KIDS.


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