Ear Molding Specialist

Up Pediatric Plastic Surgery

Pediatric Plastic Surgery located in Houston, TX & Webster, TX

If your child was born with a congenital ear deformity, the sooner you get treatment, the better, In fact, you can avoid surgery all together with ear molding during the first month after birth. At Up Pediatric Plastic Surgery, Shitel Patel, MD, and Jacqueline Wegge, MD, have extensive experience helping parents of newborns reshape their infants’ ears through painless ear molding. To learn more, call one of the offices in Houston or Webster, Texas, or use the online form to schedule an appointment.

Ear Molding Q & A

What congenital ear abnormalities can be corrected with ear molding?

Children can be born with a wide variety of ear abnormalities, most of which can be fixed very quickly through ear molding at Up Pediatric Plastic Surgery. The most common abnormalities are:

  • Constricted ear: This occurs when the top of your child’s ear (helical rim) is folded over, wrinkled, tight, or missing its normal curves. Sometimes this is called “lop ear” or “cup ear.”
  • Stahl’s ear: This refers to an extra fold or crease in the upper part of your child’s ear, which can sometimes make the ear appear pointed like elf ears. The doctors at Up Pediatric Plastic Surgery treat Stahl’s ear with ear molding.
  • Cryptotia: If the top of your child’s ear appears as though it’s buried in the surrounding skin, this is cryptotia, which can be treated with ear molding up to five years of age.
  • Prominent ears: This refers to what you typically think of as large ears that stick out. Usually, the top of your child’s ear is also missing its normal folds. Prominent ears can be treated with ear molding or an otoplasty (ear surgery) at Up Pediatric Plastic Surgery.

When should ear molding start?

If your baby is born with any of the above ear abnormalities, ear molding is an excellent option. During the first few weeks of life, your baby has extra hormones circulating in their body that were passed along from the mother. This includes estrogen, which makes cartilage softer and more moldable.

As a result, the surgeons at Up Pediatric Plastic Surgery can take advantage of this phenomenon and shape your child’s ears before the hormones leave their system and the cartilage becomes firmer.

So in order for the molding to be effective, it needs to be started very early, ideally within the first week of life, for best results. After a month, your baby’s estrogens are gone, and molding is no longer effective. The one exception is for children with cryptotia. Since the problem is mainly a deficiency of skin, not cartilage, the doctor is able to stretch your child’s skin with acceptable results even up to age five.

How does ear molding work?

To mold your child’s ear, the doctors at Up Pediatric Plastic Surgery use a combination of plastic, preformed molds and tape to create a splint that gradually coaxes your child’s cartilage into the desired shape.

Your baby wears the splints 24 hours a day, and your doctor changes them every two weeks. This process continues for six to eight weeks, at which time the splints can generally be discontinued.

In about 90% of cases, the ear shape is normalized, and the correction is maintained, meaning your child won’t need surgery in the future.

To take advantage of ear molding for your child’s ear abnormality, call Up Pediatric Plastic Surgery, or use the convenient online scheduling form to book an appointment.