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Otorhinolaryngology (Ear, Nose & Throat)
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- Ear Conditions & Treatment
- Nose Conditions & Treatment
- Throat Conditions & Treatment
- Head/Neck Conditions & Treatment
- Pediatric ENT Conditions & Treatment
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Ear & Nose Deformities
There are many types of ear and nose anomalies that may be present at birth (congenital). These can be broken down into two groups based on how they are treated. Malformations occur when they are missing elements. These conditions typically require surgical correction later in life.
In ear and nose deformities or deformation, all parts of the ear are present, but may be abnormally shaped, positioned, or have abnormal folds. Some of these conditions may self-correct over time, but others may not. These types of anomalies may be corrected during infancy by a process called molding.
What is molding?
Molding is a treatment technique used to mold deformed ears and noses into a normal shape. Molding works best in the first few weeks of life when infant ears and noses are soft and pliable due to the high levels of maternal estrogen still in their bodies. Around 6 weeks of age, these level of maternal estrogen fall to normal, and ears and noses become more rigid, making early intervention important.
Molding uses a combination of molding devices and orthodontic molding materials. First, the infant is fit with a molding appliance and is worn continuously for one to two weeks.
After one to two weeks, results are examined. If the deformity has not been corrected yet, a new device will be reapplied. The process is repeated every few weeks until acceptable improvement or correction is seen.
Most ears and noses, if treated early, respond to molding to improve the shape of the ear and nose. In general, the younger the child is when treatment starts, the shorter the duration of therapy. However, children a few months of age have been treated successfully with nonsurgical molding.