What is ear molding?
Often times, newborns can be born with one or two ears that are deformed or misshapen. Luckily, in most instances the commonest types of deformities can be addressed without any surgery or pain. To do this we can utilize a technique that is called ear molding. Ear molding takes advantage of a few specific facts.
Most important one is that newborn ears can change shape. This is due to the fact that right after birth there are specific hormones from the mother that are circulating in the newborn’s blood and these hormones can make a newborn’s cartilage moldable. Basically the cartilage’s shape can to some degree be changed. This allows us to use a technique called ear molding to reshape an misshapen ear into one that is normal in appearance.
How is ear molding performed?
There are several ways to perform ear molding. Some doctors have fashioned their own DIY kits with metal and tape while others have used available kits such as the EarWell system. The EarWell system is a ear molding system designed to address all types misshapen cartilage. It is placed with little to no discomfort and usually after 2-4 weeks the ear has been shaped to the appropriate appearance.
However, it is important to know that the hormones that allow for cartilage to be molded are soon removed from the newborn’s blood so our window to perform ear molding is small.
How much time do we have to perform ear molding?
The short answer is, little less than a month. In fact, the sooner we start the process the better the outcome. Ultimately if more than 3-4 weeks have passed, ear molding would not be successful. But don’t worry, there are other options out there we may just have to wait until the ear has fully grown which is around 5 years of age.