New Device Reshapes Newborns’ Ears without Surgery

A new infant ear correction system can reshape a newborn’s ears starting in the first month of life without surgery.

Stanford University’s Children’s Hospital reports their surgeons are now using the EarWell system, which was approved by the FDA in 2010. EarWell has a custom-fit plastic molding device that babies can wear for six to eight weeks early in life to reshape their ears and permanently correct their shape. The system works because the circulating estrogen left over from pregnancy gives infants’ cartilage high flexibility.

“We see an immediate result, even within the first two weeks,” said Rohit Khosla, MD . “It’s very remarkable.”

Between one-fifth and one-third of babies have prominent or misfolded ears.

“It’s painless and non-surgical. And it allows the patient to avoid potentially many years of social stigma associated with ear deformities,” said Khosla.

According to Khosla, early intervention with EarWell is key for a successful outcome. The device has greater than 90 percent success when treatment is started within the first month of life, but it is less effective in older babies.

“We can take advantage of the patient’s biology in this specific window of infancy to correct a deformity that will otherwise be uncorrectable until the child is older,” Khosla said. “And with this technique, the cost of surgery, the pain and the recovery can all be avoided.”

Ear surgery is another option for correcting such problems as prominent ears and can be performed on patients at a fairly young age — as young as five. Also known as otoplasty, ear surgery pins back protruding ears.

Read more about ear surgery at Will Surgical Arts, and learn more about EarWell at the Stanford School of Medicine website.

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Dr. Michael J. Will cosmetic surgeon Maryland received his bachelor’s degree from Washington and Jefferson College, his dental degree from Georgetown University and his medical degree from the University of Texas.

He completed his General Surgery and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery training at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Will also completed a General Cosmetic Surgery fellowship at the Cosmetic Surgery Center in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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