Ear Molding with Dr. Jandali - Milford Moms Network

Dr. Shareef Jandali is a board-certified plastic surgeon with offices in Trumbull, Connecticut and Manhattan, NY.  He specializes in non-surgical ear molding for newborn ear deformities such as prominent ears, ear lidding, pointed ears, Stahl’s ear, constricted ear, and cup ear. Ear molding is a painless procedure performed in his office that gently corrects the misshapen ear cartilage. It is best to start in the first few weeks after birth for full correction, but improvements in shape can still be obtained up to 4 months of age. Ear molding does not affect hearing development, breastfeeding, or sleeping. Ear molding is usually covered by insurance. Visit www.ear-molding.com for more information.

Dr. Shareef Jandali is a board-certified plastic surgeon practicing in Connecticut and New York City. He completed his plastic surgery residency training at the University of Pennsylvania and his pediatric plastic surgery training at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Jandali has been in practice for 12 years and specializes in ear molding for infant ear deformities. He treats newborns from Milford, Connecticut, and surrounding areas with ear molding at his Trumbull office.

What is newborn ear molding?

Ear molding is a non-surgical procedure used to reshape a newborn’s ears soon after birth when there is an abnormal ear shape or if the ears are not even. The purpose of ear molding is to avoid future corrective ear surgery (otoplasty) and obtain natural-appearing and symmetric ears in a newborn.

How did you start performing ear molding?

I started ear molding almost 10 years ago after my first daughter was born. She was born with a kink in the cartilage on the top of one of her ears. I knew it could be corrected non-surgically with ear molding, but I didn’t perform ear molding at that time and had none of the supplies needed. Our pediatrician didn’t know of any specialists performing ear molding and both Yale and Hartford Children’s Hospitals did not offer it. So, we ended up bringing her down to CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) where I did my training. My mentor molded her ear, and she got a great symmetric result after only 5 weeks of treatment. After that experience, I wanted to start performing ear molding to be able to offer the procedure for babies in Connecticut. I have since developed my own techniques and molds to be able to offer it to older babies (up to 3-4 months old) and babies with tougher deformities. Many newborns that we treat with ear molding are from surrounding towns such as Milford, Stratford, Orange, West Haven, and New Haven.

At what age should ear molding be started in babies?

Ear molding should ideally be started within the first few weeks after birth when the baby’s ear cartilage is still soft and malleable from the estrogen that is still in the baby from the mother. The newborn estrogen levels start to drop by 5-7 weeks old. I try to start molding as early as possible and then continue molding as the ear cartilage is hardening in the correct shape. The earlier ear molding is started, the shorter the treatment period and the more likely to have a full correction and excellent outcome.

What is the oldest age you can perform ear molding?

Although not as ideal as early molding, I have performed ear molding up to 3-4 months of age for certain deformities. At this age, I can usually still obtain an improvement in ear shape, but I may not be able to obtain full correction or perfect symmetry. Parents are still pleased as future surgery can usually be avoided. Parents of babies with ear deformities in Milford, Connecticut, should reach out to our office early after birth for potential ear molding.

What types of ear deformities can be treated with ear molding?

I offer ear molding for newborns from Milford, Connecticut, to correct misshapen or abnormal baby ears or ears that appear too large. Some examples include the following:

Prominent Ears: These are baby ears that stick out and are caused by poor formation of a fold of cartilage that holds the ears back. Ear molding can develop or improve the fold which pulls the ears closer to the sides of the head.

Folded or Pointed Ears: Folded baby ears or pointed newborn ears are caused by abnormal development of the cartilage of the outer rim of the ear. Ear molding can unfold or round out any pointed part of the outer ear cartilage and make it a smooth natural curve.

Constricted Ears: These are newborn ears with a tight and constricted outer rim of cartilage. This causes the ear to look squished and smaller. This can also make the baby’s ear stick out more or look cupped. Ear molding can gently stretch the tight skin and cartilage and pull the ear back into a more normal position.

Uneven Baby Ears: Sometimes baby ears look misshapen due to a few different deformities present in the same ear. Almost all of these can be corrected or improved with ear molding, except for severe cases of microtia which require surgery.

How is ear molding performed? Do you use EarWell for newborn ear molding in Milford, CT?

Ear molding is performed by creating a mold customized for your baby and the desired ear shape. This is accomplished either with the EarWell device, or by making a mold out of soft medical grade silicone gel. Various conformers are customized and bent to exactly create the desired shape to match the opposite normal ear or what a normal ear should look like if both ears are misshapen. The mold secures the ear in the desired shape and gently stretches the cartilage until it hardens. I like the EarWell device for certain deformities, but it sometimes doesn’t work for more complex deformities, and it also doesn’t fit older babies with larger ears (since EarWell is one size fits all). I usually make my own customized molds, which fit babies’ ears better as they grow.

Is ear molding painful for the baby or affect hearing development?

Ear molding is a non-painful procedure since it is non-surgical and the soft, custom-made ear splints do not cause excessive pressure on any part of the ear. Most babies are sleeping or feeding from a bottle as I perform the procedure. Most newborns completely ignore the ear molds and don’t touch or grab them. Parents can still use hats and headbands and place their babies in car seats. The ear molds don’t affect breastfeeding either – we only ask mothers to hold a cloth in front of the ear so that no drops of milk enter the mold. The molds don’t cover the ear canal, so they don’t affect hearing development at all.  

How long does it take to complete the ear molding process?

The length of treatment with ear molding depends on what age the molding is started, the type of the deformity, and the severity of the deformity. In most cases, it takes 4-6 weeks of ear molding to obtain the desired correction. Adjustments are made to the ear molds every 1-2 weeks to monitor progress, make adjustments, and clean the ears.

How well does ear molding work for correction of misshapen baby ears?

Ear molding is highly effective with success rates almost 100% when started in the first few weeks after birth. Even after the first few weeks, we can usually obtain significant improvement in ear shape and symmetry.

What should parents in Milford, Connecticut, know about potential risks or complications with ear molding?

Ear molding is very safe as it is non-surgical and applies gentle steady pressure to obtain the desired correct shape of the ear. It is performed with an EarWell device or custom-made medical grade soft silicone parts and adhesive. Occasionally, there can be skin irritation or redness that develops underneath some of the adhesive. This can occur when milk, formula, or spit up get under the mold or the adhesive. If this occurs, we remove the mold and allow the skin to clear for a few days before reapplying another ear mold.

How many ear moldings do you perform a year?

On average, I perform about 100 ear moldings a year between my Connecticut and New York offices. Parents are always excited to learn of this amazing option to correct newborn ear deformities and avoid future surgery. 

Are there many specialists for ear molding in Milford, Connecticut and the surrounding areas like New Haven and Bridgeport?

There are very few plastic surgeons that have been trained to perform ear molding or have the experience to perform it on a wide variety of ear deformities. When choosing an ear molding provider, be sure to look for someone with many before and after photos, showing their expertise and outcomes.

Is ear molding covered by medical insurance?

Most insurance companies do cover ear molding as they consider it medically necessary to correct a congenital ear deformity. Our office will always obtain insurance authorization and check benefits before the first appointment.

How do parents in Milford, Connecticut, learn more about ear molding or contact your office?

Parents can call our office at (203) 374-0310 to set up an appointment. They can also visit our website for more information: https://ear-molding.com/.

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