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Postpartum splinting of ear deformities

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 15 February 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:366
  1. Andrew J Lindford, clinical fellow,
  2. Shehan Hettiaratchy, specialist registrar,
  3. Fabrizio Schonauer, consultant
  1. Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead RH19 3DZ
  1. Correspondence to: S Hettiaratchy, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Charing Cross Hospital, London W6 8RFshehan_h{at}
  • Accepted 4 December 2006

Postpartum splinting can completely correct congenital ear deformities and obviate the need for later surgery

Congenital ear deformities are common and usually corrected surgically in childhood. Ear deformities are often first noticed by parents or non-specialist personnel such as midwives, general practitioners, and health visitors. Splinting of ear deformities in the early neonatal period has been shown to be a safe and effective non-surgical treatment.12345678 The splint is made from a wire core segment in a 6-French silastic tube and held in place with adhesive skin closure strips. It is applied with no anaesthesia for three to four weeks.1 We present three cases that show how different congenital ear deformities can be treated non-surgically, thereby obviating the need for surgery.

Case reports

Case 1: constricted ear

A male child was born at full term with bilateral constricted ears. No family history of ear deformity existed. In this deformity, the rim of the ear looks as if it has been tightened, rather like a purse string that has been pulled closed.19 We initiated splinting three days after birth and the programme was continued for one month. By 10 days the upper pole had expanded and a good result was seen at six …

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