EarBuddiesTM splints can correct most problems caused by abnormal or missing folds of a baby's ear (Stick-Out Ear, Stahl's Bar, Cup Ear, Cryptotia, Lop Ear, Rim Kink, Stick-Out lobe and a Folded-over Helical Rim). As a general guide, if you can temporarily correct the problem by gently bending the misshapen ear or by pushing out a kink with your fingers, then EarBuddiesTM should be able to give a permanent correction. However, the splints cannot replace missing tissue or guarantee success in all cases.
Also known as Dumbo, FA Cup, bat, wing-nut and prominent ears.
Two-thirds of prominent ears are obvious soon after birth, while the rest become obvious as the head shape changes and the ear cartilage hardens during early life. It is in this period that surgery can be avoided with splintage. EarBuddiesTM splints fix the cause of stick-out ears by remoulding the soft cartilage and, when it hardens, the correct position and shape becomes permanent.
The folds in the cartilage framework of a normal ear make it lie flat against the side of the head.
Two-thirds of prominent ears stick-out because the antehelical fold is not properly developed.
The rest because the conchal bowl is very deep. (abnormal muscle attachment may play a part)
Also known as a Stahl's Ear, third crus or Spock Ear.
some are pointed
some are more rounded
Stahl's Bars can also stick out
difficult to fix surgically
A Stahl's bar is an unusual ear deformity which can make the ear look pointed. EarBuddiesTM splints can correct these deformities easily in babies, whereas they are difficult to correct by later surgery, even in expert hands.
In a cup ear, the rim (helical rim or helix) is thick and constricted, that is, it seems too tight and inflexible for the ear, so that it looks cup-shaped, and often also sticks out.
Sometimes only the lower two-thirds of an ear looks normal and the upper part seems stuck to the side of the head. When the top of the ear is gently pulled away from the side of the head, the upper pole cartilage becomes evident, having been hidden beneath scalp skin.
Lop ear is a rare deformity in which the upper pole of the ear flops over. Because the upper pole has folded downwards, the rim loses its curved shape and appears flattened. The upper pole often sticks out from the side of the head, and the ear may appear square when viewed from the side.
Some ears have a kink in the helical rim and in a few the whole ear appears collapsed vertically to give an ear of reduced height. A pronounced kink may present as a notch in the normal round arch of the helical rim.
Whilst the outer border of the rim often retains its roundness, the helical rim folds over sharply and obscures the scaphal hollow. This often creates a notch on the inner border of the helical rim and it is this which causes concern in later years; children are teased about their 'pointy' ears whereas it is in fact the folding-over of the helical rim that creates a sharp angle, as shown below. In some ears where the rim folds over, there is an indentation which looks as though a thumb print has been left in the rim (as in the picture in the centre below).
The ear lobe does not usually contain cartilage and simply hangs from the lower border of the cartilage framework of the ear - if the lobe sticks out, it is usually because the lower edge of the cartilage framework sticks out, and carries the lobe with it.
after 2 weeks
A normal ear has a shallow conchal bowl surrounded by the antihelix. A conchal crus is a rare deformity in which a bar of cartilage crosses the conchal bowl from just above the tragus to the antihelix. In some instances, the natural recess of the conchal bowl is almost entirely lost because cartilage in the floor of the bowl bulges outwards. A conchal crus can block the entrance to the the ear canal, and in later life, retention of in-ear headphones can be difficult.
If your baby's ears are perfectly formed, folded and shaped, and do not stick out, but are simply large, EarBuddiesTM cannot reduce their size. In this case it would be best to wait until early adulthood before considering any action. Click here for more information on surgery to treat Macrotia.
EarBuddiesTM can reduce the vertical ear height in some circumstances, for example, if the ear lacks a rim, and particularly where a Stahl's Bar is also present. For such an ear, you would place the splint a little way in from the uppermost edges of the ear, and then roll the edge over the splint so that the cartilage will harden in this shape to permanently recreate a rim, and reduce the vertical height of the ear by a few millimetres.
Microtia, which literally means small ear (micro = small, otia = ear), is a rare deformity in which the ear fails to form fully. This condition presents in a wide variety of ways, from a tiny flap of tissue to an underdeveloped ear with some identifiable structures.
EarBuddiesTM cannot treat microtia, but in instances where there are identifiable structures present, splintage may help to improve the appearance until surgery can be considered.