What to do if your baby is born with funny looking ears?

congenital bat ear

Don’t panic. 

Plastic surgery is not the only solution to fix misshapen ears. A new solution is available thanks to innovation in plastic surgery. Ear moulding treatment uses the intrinsic mould-ability of newborn ear cartilage to splint, mould and shape a misshapen ear, which then ‘sets’ in the correct shape as the cartilage hardens.


Early ear moulding is extremely effective, with a 90% success rate. If treatment is begun in the first days of life, success rates are even better.


There are number of devices available in South Africa. The Earwell ridged device by Beacon medical in the United States and Earbuddies which was developed by a plastic surgeon from the United Kingdom.

The Ear moulding splint is applied to your baby’s ear, in a quick procedure that takes fifteen minutes. It is completely pain-free and it and that doesn’t need a general anaesthetic or any pain medication.

Treatment lasts approximately two to four weeks. The device needs to be worn 24-seven, for two weeks. At two weeks a second fitting is done with a slightly bigger device to fit your baby’s ear as it grows. Depending on how early the moulding started, a third fitting may be needed at four weeks.

Ear moulding devices are best used with the help of a plastic surgeon.The anatomy of the ear it is intricate and detailed. Moulding a misshapen ear into a good looking ear, requires a specialised knowledge of the anatomy and aesthetics of the ear.


Parents are very satisfied with the ear moulding treatment. In a study on Earwell published in the Journal of Plastic and reconstructive surgery, 100% of parents surveyed said that they would have the procedure repeated and none found the treatment difficult or uncomfortable for the baby.

If you want to know more about Ear Moulding or have any questions please feel free to get in touch with Dr Clare Neser specialist plastic and reconstructive surgeon.