Inevitably, every child endures a certain degree of teasing – whether it’s from siblings, classmates, or friends. It’s unfortunate, but we learn and grow from it. Sadly, children with misshapen or prominent ears may encounter much dramatic taunting. These emotional scars can last well into adulthood. To help young children grow their confidence during formative years, surgery to correct prominent or constricted ears may be a wise decision.
At Plastic and Craniofacial Surgery for Infants and Children, we provide compassionate care for children with congenital disorders and birth defects. Request a consultation online or call us at (469) 375-3838 to schedule a time to meet with our skilled team. We take a deep personal interest in the overall wellness of the children who visit our practice, caring for their spirit as we heal their bodies.
Evaluation and Treatment
In terms of aesthetic ear deformities, there are two primary concerns:
- Constricted ears. “Lop ears” or “cup ears” occur when the rim of the ear is tightened or constricted. The result can be an ear with decreased height, a flattened or folded appearance, or (in the most severe cases) an ear that appears to be rolled into a tube.
- Prominent ears. This term is used to refer to ears that project excessively from the sides of the head (“stick out”).
As these are very different conditions, treatment methods are different for each. While surgery is generally considered the mainstay of treatment for older children, we also offer a non-surgical solution that has been successful for many infants.
EarWell™ is a non-surgical device that can be used to correct over 90% of all infant ear deformities, including prominent and constricted ears. Constricted and prominent ear correction with EarWell must begin when the child is still a baby. The device works to reshape the cartilage of the deformed ear into the appearance of a “normal” ear. This saves the child from early teasing and eliminates the need for future surgery.
Otoplasty (ear surgery) is performed later in life, usually when the child is around 5 years of age or older. Although it is usually used to describe ear pinning for prominent ears, it is actually a more general term for ear reshaping – including reshaping of enlarged earlobes, constricted ears, and other issues. The specific surgical technique will depend upon the child’s unique anatomy.
Recovery from otoplasty is usually uneventful. Children should be instructed to play carefully and to avoid touching their ears. It will be important to pay especially close attention to your child during this recovery period.
A Happy, Healthy Child
With both surgical and non-surgical options available, correction of aesthetic ear deformities is easier than ever. While treatment is not usually required to restore function, it can play an important role in your child’s development. Correction of prominent or constricted ears may prevent long-lasting damage to a child’s confidence and social skills. It’s an important way that you can help your child be successful during their formative years.