What's the Scoop on EarWell, Non-surgical Ear Reshaping for Infants with Funny Looking Ears?

My 4-week old nephew has a cup-ear on one side and was recommended to use the EarWell system. Does this really work? Thank you.

Doctor Answers 10

Early Molding For Misshapen Ears

Ear reshaping can be done in infants but it must be instituted very early after birth to be effective. By 6 to 8 weeks after birth, the ear cartilage begins to stiffen and can no longer be molded by any external means. The EarWell or any method that folds the helical rim back and can maintain it in that position will have some effectiveness when done early enough.

Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

EarWell moulding works well.

The EarWell molding system works well if used early.  You should start it with in the first couple weeks to get the best results.  After six weeks the ear cartilage is too stiff to get a reliable correction.

Best Wishes

Dr. Peterson

Marcus L. Peterson, MD
Saint George Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Ear shaping

There has been reports in the cosmetic surgery literature that using molded forms in deformities of the ear early in infancy will improve and mold the cartilage. it would be worth trying.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Ear Molding for Infants is Safe and Effective

We perform infant ear molding at our office and get great results. We use the EarWell system which can be customized to the type of deformity and the size of the ear.

Ear molding is best started before the newborn is 3-4 weeks old - the earlier the better. Molding is usually performed for 4 to 6 weeks depending on how severe the deformity is.

Great natural results can be obtained, and future ear pinning surgery can be avoided. In addition, ear molding is covered by insurance, whereas ear pinning surgery (otoplasty), when a child is five or six years old, is considered cosmetic and is an out-of-pocket cost. 

Shareef Jandali, MD
Fairfield Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Using the EarWell for non-surgical ear reshaping

The EarWell system is effective in reshaping misshapen infant ears - many published studies and parents attest to this. At four weeks your nephew has a good chance of full correction. Ear molding is most effective when started in the first days or weeks of life (the earlier the better) so I recommend seeking a consultation with an EarWell physician as soon as practicable. 

Jill Tomlinson, MBBS, FRACS
Melbourne Plastic Surgeon

Newborn ear correction

The EarwellsTM system, developed by US Plastic Surgeon Dr. Steve Byrd, is a physician-placed, non-surgical ear splinting/ molding system that carries a >90% success rate for newborn ear abnormalities.  It can effectively treat cup ear, prominent ear, Stahl's/ elfin ear, and a variety of other ear deformities.

EarBuddies, developed by British Plastic Surgeon Dr. David Gault, are splints meant for at-home use, with parents or other caretakers applying them.  They work well for helical (ear rim) and antihelical (the fold of cartilage inside the ear rim) problems, and may improve--but likely not cure--cup ear.

The idea of newborn ear splinting or molding has been around for a while, with Japanese and British studies describing treatment in the 1980s.  Starting treatment early (by day 5 of life) generally carries a higher chance of successful improvement and shorter treatment duration; this is because a newborn child has a high level of circulating estrogens from Mom, and this estrogen makes the child's ear cartilage soft and pliable.  Newborn ear correction likely decreases the chance of teasing and accompanying psychological problems for the affected child, may avoid subsequent corrective surgery, and at times, provides results superior to those afforded by surgery.  

Treatment duration is 2-8+ weeks, depending on child's age and severity of ear abnormality.  Most studies show decreased to no improvement in kids older than 6-8 weeks, with the thinking being that as maternal estrogens disappear from circulation, the ear cartilage becomes stiff and resistant to molding.  My personal experience with 2 kids aged 2 months and 2.5 months has been good-excellent correction after 8-10 weeks of therapy.

Inessa Fishman, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Earwell for correction of ear deformity

The EarWell system works very well for correction of deformities of the external ear if applied within the first 6 weeks of life.  During this time frame there are circulating maternal hormones in the child which allow for the ear cartilage to remain pliable and thus molding the ear framework into the correct position allows for the cartilage to harden in the appropriate shape.  
Unfortunately, this system is unfamiliar to most pediatricians and many children who have correctable ear deformities are unrecognized during this early time frame and are not referred to the appropriate facial plastic surgeon trained in the use of the EarWell device.
EarWell is a non surgical system, takes less than 15 minutes to apply and is covered by most major insurance carriers.
Warm Regards,
Dr LeBeau

Jacque P. LeBeau, MD
Pensacola Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

EarWell non-surgical ear molding works great!

EarWell works very well for newborns less than 3 weeks old who have all of the necessary ear parts, but the ear just has a funny shape to it. The process takes anywhere from 2-6 weeks, does not hurt the baby, and is successful at obtaining a good or excellent result in over 90% of cases. I do this quite a bit in South Florida and find it to be very satisfying for parents who want to try to avoid potential cosmetic ear surgery for their children later in life.

Jeremy B. White, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

EarWell: How it Works

When a baby is born with prominent ears, quick intervention can reduce ear prominence.  A patented technology, EarWell, uses ear molds to reshape the ear using gentle pressure.  This only works in the first few months of life while the ear cartilage is malleable.  Once this short time passes, only surgery will help.

I have seen some patients undergo treatment with EarWell with good results!

Stephen Bresnick, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Otoplasty earwell and does it work

Molding of the ear can work at the very beginning after child birth. The more you wait the more solidified the situation becomes. During the first month, there are higher levels of female hormones in the infants body that will keep the cartilage soft. The ear is most moldable during the first month and early on. This is where things like the earwell can help. But you have to be realistic.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 84 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.