When the pediatrician told Jen and Matt Adams that their infant daughter’s ear had a congenital deformity, there was never a question of getting it fixed.
“I don’t want her to be self conscious when she grows up,” said Jen, a mental health counselor from Meadville, Pa. “I don’t want her to worry about pulling her hair back when she gets older.”
Ellie was born on Oct. 24, 2013, and by the time she was 4 weeks old, Dr. Peter Letourneau, a pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Akron Children’s Hospital, applied a mold to her ear, called an EarWell.
Ellie’s EarWell mold was removed 6 weeks later on Christmas Eve, revealing great results.
“Infant ear deformities are quite common, yet are often overlooked,” said Dr. Letourneau. “When noticed early on, as in Ellie’s case, ear molding can completely correct the deformity without surgery. However, early referral to a specialist is critical to be able to take advantage of circulating maternal estrogens that allow the ear to be successfully molded during infancy.”
The beauty of EarWell, according to Dr. Letourneau, is that it presents another option for parents, rather than just a wait-and-see approach to surgery, hoping the ear might self correct.
“Many congenital ear deformities will not correct on their own,” he said. “Why wait and take a chance when it is so easy, and often reimbursed by insurance, to see if the EarWell can make the correction?”
For Ellie, EarWell was the answer.
“It made a big difference and we are pleased with the results,” said Jen. “The amazing thing is that she didn’t seem to even notice that she had it on the whole time. It didn’t bother her at all.”
Matt, a financial planner, was impressed with the whole process and grateful that Dr. Letourneau called him several times throughout the process to check on Ellie and see if they had any questions.
“Dr. Letourneau is fantastic and his bedside manner is much appreciated,” said Matt. “We are so glad we have a symmetrical perfect little baby and it is comforting to know that she won’t have to endure ridicule or fun making. Now she is able to put her best foot forward without worrying whether her body is acceptable.”
See the gallery below for images from the three stages of treatment.