Elf Ears

Elf Ears Defined

We all know how cruel children can be to each other at school and on the playground. When someone is born with protruding, enlarged, or pointy ears, they often experience great amounts of ridicule and low self-esteem. Many individuals have these ear abnormalities fixed when they are young to deter bullying, however, finances and lack of access to the right treatment could result in an adult having elf ears that need to be treated.

Adults with elf ears typically try to hide them from the view of others, as they do not want them to be stared at or pointed out. Elf ears can create a sense of low self-esteem and subject even adults to mean or unnecessary comments. Therefore, the nearby Aventura team is dedicated to helping individuals feel and look their best. Dr. Richard Galitz has been performing facial plastic surgery procedures, including corrective elf ear procedures for over 30 years. He is dedicated and expertly trained to achieve the desired results for all his patients. Throughout the years, we have specialized in difficult cosmetic ear surgeries, which are all done under local anesthesia and oral sedation. To learn more about how elf ear treatments and elf ear surgery near you, contact our team for a free consultation!

What are Elf Ears?

Outer ear deformities that are inherited from birth are commonly known as congenital deformities. Approximately one in six thousand newborns have outer ear deformities. Treatment generally results in positive outcomes, and if it is begun early enough, it might even help the child avoid social stigma. There are three main parts of the ear: the outer, middle, and inner ear. The outer ear is made up of the visible external ear (auricle or pinna) and the external auditory canal. The ear is more complex than individuals think, containing many structures and folds that all work together to hear sounds.

In general, elf ears are congenital deformities that are usually corrected early in life. In some cases, this ear defect is referred to as “Spock’s ear” due to its pointy appearance. The scapha area of the ear also contains a cartilage fold (crus) in the middle. A prominent appearance and pointed shape are usually associated with this extra fold that extends to the helical rim. This ear abnormality has long been described as looking like an elf’s ear by some people.

There is generally no pain associated with this condition, nor does it usually interfere with one’s ability to hear accurately. In some cases, elf ear deformities can be corrected without the need for ear surgery, if it is treated in a timely manner.

What Causes Elf Ears?

A baby’s ear develops in the uterus, just like all other body parts and organs. However, sometimes growth and development don’t proceed as planned. A congenital deformity of the outer ear can result when this occurs at or before birth. As a result, the child may be born with elf ears, otherwise known as Stahl’s ear

There are many structures in the outer ear that can develop congenital deformities, and elf ears are an example. The condition affects one or both ears and does not normally affect the ability to hear. Nevertheless, as children grow up, outer ear deformities can have long-term psychological and social implications. 

There are two main causes of congenital defects due to elf ears being present from birth. The two factors that may contribute to the development of the ears in utero are:

  • Position of Fetus – In some cases, elf ears occur as a result of the baby’s position in the uterus or during delivery. For example, it is possible to experience abnormal development of the outer ear when the blood supply to it is reduced. 
  • Environmental Factors – Elf ears and other congenital deformities of the outer ear can be congenital if a baby is exposed to certain conditions in the womb during development. Outer ear deformities, including elf ears, have been linked to prenatal exposure to drugs such as isotretinoin (Accutane), thalidomide, and alcohol.
via https://www.childrens.com/

When And How Are Elf Ears Diagnosed?

Physical examinations at birth are typically conducted to diagnose congenital deformities of the outer ear, including elf ears. As well as checking for facial, jaw, and ear deformities, the doctor will carefully examine the baby for symmetry and proportionality. In addition, otoscopes are used to examine the tympanic membrane and ear canal while the ears are being examined. 

Adults who suspect that they have elf ears will have to consult an Aventura elf ear plastic surgeon for an official diagnosis. A nearby consultation with Dr. Galitz will be scheduled to first determine whether or not the patient actually has elf ears. In order to do this he will examine the asymmetries in size, shape, and contour of the ears. Additionally, he will observe and check the functionality of the ear canal and tympanic membrane, otherwise known as the ear dum, to make note of any aspect of the ear that doesn’t appear or function normally. Any hearing concerns will also be addressed by Dr. Galitz through a hearing test. In the event that the patient has concerns, Dr. Galitz will also evaluate the ears in relation to the rest of the face.

Ear Reshaping Treatments For Elf Ears

Elf ear before and after photo at Aventura plastic surgery ear reshaping aventura fl

Many children born with mild outer ear deformities do not require treatment, and will simply grow out of it. However, elf ears are an outer ear deformity that does not correct itself over time. Therefore, there are both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for elf ears. These treatments aim to correct the shape of the ear, as well as deter low self-esteem and bullying. 

Elf ear treatments are relatively easy and simple to fix compared to other ear deformities that might cause hearing loss or deafness. Elf ears, as well as other outer ear deformities that cause the outer ear to be abnormally shaped, sized, or positioned can be treated through the following:

Ear Molds

Ear molding is a technique used to treat elf ears and other outer ear deformities during infancy. Essentially, a mold is used as an ear-reshaping tool to form the ear into its normal shape. Ear molding is the most effective when conducted within the first few weeks after birth. This is mainly because the infant’s ears are still soft and pliable during the first few weeks fo life. An infant’s ears carry very high levels of maternal estrogen. These high levels of estrogen cause the infant’s ears to be very moldable, soft, and responsive to external molding. 

After about 6 weeks of age, the maternal estrogen levels should fall to normal, which means the ears will become more rigid and less malleable. Thus proving that early intervention is key to avoiding elf ear surgery. If recognized early enough, elf ears can be treated through nonsurgical ear reshaping. 

The first 7  to 10 days of a child’s life are particularly important. One reason is that many ear deformities self-correct over time. Non-surgical infant ear molding may be recommended as the best treatment approach if the shape or deformity of the ear does not improve in the first week or two after birth. 

Elf Ear Plastic Surgery Near You

Ear reshaping surgery, otherwise known as otoplasty, is the recommended treatment option for elf ears. In children and teens whose ears cause significant social distress, teasing, or bullying, otoplasty is one of the few procedures considered as an elf ear surgery option. Additionally, adults often undergo otoplasty as part of a series of cosmetic procedures, rather than having it performed alone. 

Elf ear cosmetic surgery near you is considered one of the safest procedures in plastic surgery. It is rare for serious complications to occur, and allergies or anesthesia are usually to blame. As far as hearing loss is concerned, there is no risk, and there is no risk of an ear being lost as well. Additionally, there is a very low risk of blood clots as well as other complications. 

As part of an Aventura otoplasty, or elf ear surgery, the skin around the ear is lifted off. Ear reshaping is then performed to create a less prominent point in the ear by reshaping the cartilage. The cartilage behind the ear is removed and sutures are placed from behind the ear to achieve a more desired appearance. We’re commonly asked about plastic surgery for elf ears. Our office specializes in difficult cosmetic ear surgery, all done with oral sedation and local anesthesia, painlessly and most important, safely.

Aventura cosmetic surgery for elf ears is one of the most delicate and meticulous procedures available since a millimeter difference can make a significant difference in the appearance of the ears. However, Dr. Galitz has been conducting cosmetic procedures for over 30 years. During an initial consultation, Dr. Galitz will discuss the approach that is most appropriate for the patient’s goals and needs. Every patient’s first consultation will be about discussing the details of the patient’s treatment plan as well as any questions or concerns they may have will be addressed. If you need an Otoplasty near you or just an earlobe repair, consider treating yourself.

Talk to an Experienced Miami Plastic Surgeon

When considering all these facts, local anesthesia is often better and a much safer choice for plastic surgery patients. Here at Aventura Plastic Surgery procedures like a facelift, neck lift, blepharoplasty, chin implant, cheek augmentation, and rhinoplasty can all be done using local anesthesia. Give us a call at (305) 974-0505 for more information and to schedule a consultation.

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