What is a congenital ear anomaly?
Congenital means dating from birth. Congenital anomalies are of two major categories, malformations and deformations. Strictly speaking, malformations are anomalies in which parts of the ear are missing or malformed. Deformations are conditions in which all or most of the ear is present, it is just folded over, has additional pleats and creases, or is prominent.
It has long been taught that many ear deformities resolve and no treatment is necessary. Recent evidence concludes that this is not the case. In a study from China involving over 1500 patients, the incidence of ear deformities was 58% and only one-third of these resolved at 30 days. Another study from Japan noted that, although some of these deformities resolve, many do not and it is recommended, therefore, that all deformities be treated.
Normal Ear Anatomy
For purposes of discussion with your doctor and to help you better understand your child’s deformity, it may be helpful to visualize a normal ear and what terminology doctors use to describe its various parts.