April 15th, 2013 | The Heads Up!!! Foundation recently donated $3,000 to the Cleft and Craniofacial Program at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. The gift will pay for the purchase of the “Craniofacial Family Notebook” which is given to parents of newborns at their first clinic visit. The notebook contains valuable educational information about… Continue Reading
Congenital ear deformities are birth defects affecting the shape and position of the ear. The soft cartilage around the ear and other structures that affect both the function and appearance of the ear may be involved. These deformities can cause significant functional and social impairment. The expert plastic surgeons of Riley Children’s Hospital at IU Health in Indianapolis treat all deformities of the outer ear from a split earlobe to comprehensive reconstruction of missing ears.
Microtia means "small ear." Most children with microtia have a normally formed inner ear, but lack all or part of the structures that form the outer ear, including the opening in some cases. Without those external structures to funnel sound to the inner ear, children often have difficulty hearing and determining the direction of sound.
How is microtia treated?
Microtia can be corrected through a series of surgeries to build the structures of the outer ear. Typically, these surgeries occur over the course of several months to years and can take anywhere between 2 and 4 surgeries. The first surgery often involves utilizing cartilage from the patient’s ribcage to begin building the framework for the outer ear. Later stages involve shaping the earlobe and other exterior structures of the ear.
Surgeries to treat microtia begin after the ear has stopped growing, typically around age 6-8. Further treatment to address hearing problems or development of the middle or inner ear may be required.
Children with protruding ears have noticeably prominent ears. While the problem is primarily cosmetic, associated affects on self-esteem can be challenging. Other practical concerns, such as proper fitting of eyeglasses, are also factors in treating protruding ears.
How are protruding ears treated?
Protruding ears are corrected surgically, in a procedure sometimes referred to as "pinning back" the ears. Surgical correction of protruding ears will not affect the function of the ear or hearing. The procedure is usually done after the child’s ears have reached their full size, usually around age 5 or 6.
Lop/cupped ears means the rim of the ear is tightened or constricted, and can be mild to severe. Children with the most severe cases have ears that are rolled almost into a tube, sometimes with inner ear deformities that can affect hearing.
How are lop/cupped ears treated?
Lop/cupped ears are corrected surgically, though the exact procedure performed depends upon the severity of the child’s deformity. Surgery for a minor problem may involve shortening the cartilage for a more normal appearance. More severe cases may involve the removal or grafting of cartilage to rebuild the ear structure or repositioning of the entire ear.