Between one-fifth and one-third of infants are born with prominent or misfolded ears. Up until recently, surgery was the only viable correction option for these cases. Now there is a non-surgical alternative called the EarWell Infant Ear Correction System. Dr. Kenneth Bermudez, a highly regarded plastic and reconstructive surgeon, is pleased to offer the EarWell system at his San Francisco plastic surgery practice. Approved by the FDA in 2010, it is an effective treatment method that can prevent a child from suffering years of teasing and social stigma from insensitive peers.
Ear surgery can be more effective if performed within the first few weeks of an infant’s life. Immediately after birth, the cartilage is very flexible, thanks to circulating estrogen left over from pregnancy. The ears are especially malleable. Some misfolded ears unfold on their own shortly after the child is born, but if the issue does not resolve itself within a week, early intervention is advisable.
There is a very specific window of time in which treatment with the EarWell device is appropriate: before the child is one month of age. If you miss this window, ear correction will have to wait until the child is old enough to undergo surgery (around age 5 or 6 ). Having surgery is a much more invasive option, with issues of recovery, cost and potential discomfort to consider.
The EarWell is a custom-fit plastic molding device. It resembles a “cradle” that adheres around the ear, with retractors that shape the ear’s structure. A special shell fits over the ear and holds all of the components in place. The EarWell device should be worn for six to eight weeks, during which time it will gently, gradually and permanently correct the shape of the ears. Dr. Bermudez follows up with his patients every two weeks to check the progress of the treatment and make any necessary adjustments in fit. Babies undergoing EarWell treatment do not feel any pain during treatment. When placed before the baby is a month old, the EarWell device has a 90 percent success rate. It is less effective in older babies.
For more information about the EarWell Infant Ear Correction device, please contact Dr. Kenneth Bermudez. Don’t wait — call us today at (415) 712-1800. You have a short period of time to correct your newborn’s ears before surgical intervention becomes your only option.