July 9th, 2012
I love taking care of children. It's a great part of my job.
Yes - kids terrorize the office. They empty the jar of lollipops on the front desk. And we've had more than one room-clearing newborn poop (which usually happens right when I'm trying to examine them). But it's great, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Children are the reason I did a second fellowship dedicated to plastic surgery of the face and jaws. Anyhow, I digress...
Traditionally, one of the more frustrating problems for both parents and pediatric plastic surgeons alike has been the newborn whose parents bring them in because their ears "just don't look right". The "folds" of the ear haven't "folded" in the right way, the ears stick out from the head too far, or, quite frankly, they just look funny. In the past, there has not been a lot that could be done, and parents were told that the ears "should get better with time".
Unfortunately, 2/3 of those "funny" ears never improve, and the children (and their parents) had to either "live with it" or have surgery once the child and his ears got large enough - around 5 or 6 years old. Oh yes... and those insurance premiums you pay for junior - they don't cover what is considered "cosmetic" ear surgery, which typically costs between $4000 and $7000 on average.
There is a new device on the market, though, that enables me to fix these little ears.
It's called EarWellTM.
The EarWellTM is a silicone-type mold that fits over the ear, and has small pieces that I tailor to position the child's ear into a normal shape. That's it - no shots, no surgery, no anesthesia. Best of all - it WORKS. Second best - it's covered by insurance carriers.
I have not yet had a child whose ears didn't drastically improve and, for all intents and purposes, look totally normal at the end of the treatment. The EarWellTM has to be placed before the child is 6 weeks old for it to work - after that, the ear cartilage (which gives the ear it's distinctive shape and feel) cannot be molded, meaning any correction we need to do from then on will require surgery. But before then... it works GREAT. Here's an example - This child came in when he was 10 days old, and only had the device on for two and a half weeks.
If you or anyone you know "has a child who was born with deformed or misshapen ears, please point them toward the website for more information (here's a link to the Pediatric Plastic Surgery section) or have them call the office for an appointment - (865) 973-9500.
And... as always, you can visit my Facebook page (Jason Hall, M.D.) and ask questions or discuss any topic - plastic surgery or otherwise. Don't forget to "Like" me when you're there!