When your child is born with ear abnormalities, you likely find yourself extremely protective of your child. After all, just because they are different, does not mean you love them any less because of it. However, you may also realize that as your child grows up, they may begin to feel self-conscious or have low self-esteem about their ears. Because of this, you may be looking into possible treatment option for your child's ear abnormalities. There are numerous different treatment options available through prosthetics as well as through pediatric plastic surgery that can help your child with their ear abnormalities.
Ear Molding or Correction
Ear molding, also known as ear correction is a procedure that is an option for ear abnormalities such as protruding ears or Stahl's ears (when your child has an extra fold in the ear). This is a process that is started when your child is still a newborn and their tissues are more malleable and easier to manipulate into the correct shape.
These ear molds are a non-surgical treatment option that use items like foam, wire, plastic, and the like to help shape and mold your child's ears into the right shape. Many abnormalities and malformations can be treated and corrected entirely with ear molding and corrections. However, it is vitally important that you start the process when your child is very young if you want it to be effective.
If your child was born with an ear abnormality such as microtia (an ear that is very small and/or not fully formed) or without one or both of their ears, you may wonder what can be done to fix the issue. Ear molding is not an option because there is not enough tissue to work with.
Instead, if you are hesitant to put your young child through surgery early in life, you may want to consider an ear prosthesis. An ear prosthesis is a highly realistic artificial external ear that can be adhered to your child's head using an adhesive so it is easy to remove as needed. You can also opt for an implant surgery in which small bolts are implanted into the side of their head to attach the ear prosthesis onto. This is a more secure attachment option.
An ear prosthesis will not help your child with any hearing issues they have. However, it is a very realistic and well-formed option for dealing with the aesthetic aspects of your child's ear abnormalities.
Plastic surgery is another option for your child's ear abnormalities. Reconstructive ear surgery can be used to treat prominent ears, ears that are misshapen or have unusual creases and folds. Even if your child has microtia, pediatric plastic surgery may be able to help correct the issue.
Every plastic surgery procedure for pediatric ear abnormalities is unique to the patient because no two people have the same exact ear abnormality. For prominent or oversized ears, some of the cartilage can be removed and reshaped to make the ears sit closer to your child's head. For microtia, your child will need extensive ear building that involves the use of cartilage from your child's rib (or donor tissue).
Now that you know a few of the treatment options for your child's ear abnormalities, you can be sure that you get them the help and care that they need to go through their life as confidently as possible regardless of how their ears looked when they were born. For more information on pediatric plastic surgery, contact a hospital like Shriners Hospitals for Children – Cincinnati.