What is Newborn Ear Molding?

Wellspring Craniofacial Group supports children with transformative care. Our highly trained doctors focus on providing functional improvement, beautiful and natural-looking aesthetics, and the best experience possible for patients and their families.

Some parents learn that their child’s ears have not developed normally or completely within the first few weeks of life. While it’s understandable for parents to feel anxious over this diagnosis, please know that we help Austin families like yours each day with effective treatment,

Newborn ear molding offers an excellent, non-surgical opportunity for treating ear anomalies such as ears that haven’t fully or normally developed. The doctors of Wellspring Craniofacial Group are uniquely positioned to provide this care, having trained with the pioneer of modern ear molding, Dr. Steve Byrd. Having worked alongside the best, our doctors are among the most experienced professionals in this technique.

Personal and Attentive Care Matters So Much

When you choose an Austin provider for a craniofacial treatment such as newborn ear molding, we encourage you to rely on a doctor with specialization in the field, an excellent professional reputation, extensive knowledge of anatomy, and an artist’s understanding of aesthetics. Each of these characteristics contributes to the best result possible.

Just as important is the guidance and individual attention your family receives with that physician. The doctors of Wellspring Craniofacial Group each have the pedigree described above, but we are also committed to you and your child’s care.

One of the main reasons that our doctors joined this profession is because we love developing relationships with families that last years. We walk with them as they move from the anxiety of a diagnosis to the joy of a successful outcome. We stay with many of them long after, receiving updates about them and their “babies” as they grow into young adulthood.

In short, we want the best for you and your child. That’s what we offer with treatment.

How We Approach Newborn Ear Molding for Our Patients

Austin children are sometimes born with ears that are prominent; pointed at the top; lopped; constricted; or underdeveloped. Newborn ear molding can effectively treat each of these conditions and give your baby a functional and cosmetically appealing ear. Research confirms that 90% of patients achieve a good to excellent result when molding begins within the first two weeks of life. The following is a typical treatment process.

Consulting with Wellspring Craniofacial Group

If your child’s ears have not developed normally, we encourage you to visit with our doctors, ideally within his or her first week of life. You’ll find our Austin practice to be a warm and welcoming space and our staff outgoing and supportive. Because we know how important it is to keep our families and infant patients comfortable, you can expect to be seen into a treatment room quickly.

In many cases—about one-third of the time—ear developmental problems begin to resolve themselves without treatment in the first week of a child’s life. Visiting our pediatric craniofacial surgeons during this first week allows your doctor to establish a baseline for how your baby’s ears look, and a second visit at the end of the first week lets us see if the problem will go away on its own. If no resolution is evident, then we may recommend ear molding.

Why Newborn Ear Molding Is Effective

Ear molding takes advantage of a narrow window in which your child’s ear cartilage is malleable and has not yet gained “memory.” Cartilage memory is the reason you can fold your ear and expect it to spring back to its original shape. By the end of treatment, your child’s cartilage will gain memory of its new, normal shape and maintain that shape from then on. The key is to start treatment in the first two weeks of life.

How Newborn Ear Molding Works

Ear molding uses customized molds to create and maintain the desired shape. It’s a non-invasive treatment that shouldn’t cause your child discomfort. As part of the treatment we provide to Austin patients:

  • Our doctors place an adhesive cradle beneath the outer ear and produce a customized “stage one” mold that goes around the ear
  • Every 1-2 weeks, the child visits Wellspring Craniofacial Group, and his or her doctor replaces the current mold with one for the next stage of development.
  • Following 4-6 weeks of progressive improvement, the ear cartilage forms memory of its new shape.

Options for Older Children

Newborn ear molding can be an excellent solution for Austin families, but it is not the only treatment available. If your child is older and will benefit from care, Wellspring Craniofacial Group can also provide surgical correction. Generally, we offer the procedure when children reach kindergarten age. This allows them to have corrective surgery before they start first grade while giving their ears time to develop. Whether your child has a surgical procedure or is treated with newborn ear molding, you can expect excellent care from our committed physicians and staff.

Wellspring Craniofacial Group encourages you to contact our practice within the first week of your child’s life to see if newborn ear molding is the right approach. Schedule an appointment in Austin or Dallas by contacting us online or by calling (512) 600-2888.