Splinting is an elegant method to correct ear deformities in the newborn. However evidence is lacking on the relation between age and efficacy and duration of the treatment. We prospectively studied these questions on protruding ears in 132 babies.
A splint in the scaphal hollow was used in combination with tape (Earbuddies®). Treatment continued until the desired shape persisted. Results were judged from photographs and mastoid-helical distance was measured.
In 132 babies 209 ears were treated. Twenty-four patients had no follow-up, 27 stopped therapy for skin irritation and fixation problems. In the remaining patients results were good in 28%, fair in 36%, poor in 36%. Efficacy deteriorates with age; with fair or good results in 66.7% if therapy started before the sixth week. Older children needed to be splinted longer. The anti-helical fold was easier corrected than a deep concha (correction in 69.8% versus 26.8%).
Considering splinting therapy for protruding ears, a reasonable chance of success can only be offered to parents of children up to six weeks of age. It is favorable if the deformity is mainly due to a flat antihelix.
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Published online: September 09, 2011
Accepted: August 9, 2011
Received: April 27, 2011
☆This study was presented April 8 2011 at the meeting of the Dutch Society for Plastic Surgery (NVPC).
© 2011 British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.