The conchal crus ear deformity is a congenital (present of birth) ear malformation which is characterized by an abnormal fold of cartilage that crosses through the center of the conchal bowl (the hollow middle portion of the outer ear). Normally, the ear has a shallow conchal bowl that is surrounded by the center ridge of cartilage (antihelix). When this baby ear deformity called the, conchal crus deformity, is present at birth, a bar of cartilage essentially divides the ear in half. In severe cases, this fold of cartilage causes the floor of the conchal bowl to bulge outward, resulting in the natural recess to be almost completely lost. When this occurs, the ear may over-project and appear similar to protruding ear. Conchal crus deformity can also obstruct the entrance to the ear canal. Often conchal crus presents in association with other ear deformities, classifying it into a mixed ear deformity category. Like most congenital ear deformities, there is no known definitive cause for conchal crus.
How Do You Treat Or Correct A Conchal Crus Ear Deformity?
Conchal crus ear deformity can be corrected surgically later in life when it goes undiagnosed and not treat non-surgically through the use of the EarWell® Infant Ear Correction System. This, however, requires general anesthesia and the inherent risks that accompany it. For additional information, please review our resources for infant ear deformities page or view our gallery of images and video on the EarWell®. Read what our parents and physicians are saying in the EarWell® testimonial section.
Non-Surgical Treatment of the Conchal Crus Ear Deformity
Conchal crus ear deformity can be corrected non-surgically through the use of The EarWell® Infant Ear Correction System. The EarWell During the first few weeks of life, the ear cartilage is soft and pliable and can be molded into the proper shape if treatment is sought during this critical timeframe. The EarWell® Infant Ear Correction System manufactured by the Becon Premium Medical Devices is an innovative and painless method of correcting infant ear deformities that can be completed over the course of approximately four to six weeks. Coinvented by renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Steven Byrd, The EarWell® System is made up of four interlocking components which work together to change the shape of the ear and include:
- The posterior shell: Large frame piece that is held on with an adhesive and fits around the ear, pulling the ear through an opening in the center
- Conchal former: Shapes the conchal bowl of the ear
- Retractors: Smaller pieces comprised of a soft rubber which gently shape the ear into the desired position/shape
- Lid: Outer section that is made of soft breathable rubber and snaps on to hold all the components securely in place
During EarWell® treatment, the conchal former piece of the system is correcting and reshaping the deformity by gently placing downward pressure on the conchal crus. When a mixed ear deformity is present, the EarWell® System is able to correct these simultaneously, as the EarWell® device can successfully treat approximately 90% of infant ear deformities.
Benefits of the EarWell™ Infant Ear Correction System include:
- FDA approved
- No surgery required
- Permanent correction for infant ear deformities
- Painless procedure
- Over 90% success rate
- Results are seen within weeks
- Eliminates parental anxiety of waiting to see if the ear might self-correct
- Less expensive than ear reconstruction surgery (otoplasty)
- Can often be covered by insurance
Surgical Treatment for Conchal Crus
As time passes, the ear cartilage begins to stiffen, making ear molding a much less feasible option. Once the optimal time period has passed (the first few weeks of life) for utilizing The EarWell® Infant Ear Correction System, the best method for correcting conchal crus ear deformity is ear reconstruction surgery (otoplasty). In many of these cases of childhood ear deformity, experts recommend that otoplasty be performed after the ears have reached their mature size, which is typically between ages five and six.
Otoplasty is generally performed as an outpatient procedure at a day surgery center or hospital. Ear reconstruction surgery usually lasts 2-3 hours, during which time your plastic surgeon will reshape the ear/ears by manipulating or removing excess cartilage, as well as skin. Incisions are typically made on the backs of the ears or within the natural creases of the ear to hide any scar tissue that may develop.
Common techniques often utilized during otoplasty include:
- Cartilage re-sectioning
- Cartilage suturing
- Cartilage scoring
Internal sutures may be used to maintain proper ear position, and dissolvable, external stitches will be used to close any incisions.
If you have a newborn and are concerned about conchal crus ear deformity, please utilize our physician locator for a list of experts who are qualified in placing The EarWell® Infant Ear Correction System. For older patients who do not qualify for the Earwell™ Infant Ear Correction System, we are also pleased to refer you to a plastic surgery expert highly skilled in performing otoplasty.