Stahl's Ear And Its Impact On Your Child

Few parents have heard of a condition known as Stahl's ear, but it is one that can affect your child's ears and negatively impact their lives. Thankfully, this problem can be easily treated by pediatric plastic surgery, but it is important to understand it more fully before proceeding.

What Is Stahl's Ear?

Stahl's ear is a condition in which the ear takes on a pointed shape and which also causes an extra cartilage fold in the ear. Sometimes it is referred to as "Spock's ear" based on the popular television and movie character from Star Trek. Though rare, it is more common in areas such as Japan and China.

The exact causes of Stahl's ear has not been identified. When discovered in 1889, it was stated that it probably had a hereditary cause. Other evidence suggests it occurs in the third month of a fetus' life and is caused by slow development. The reason that this happens is still a mystery, making it hard to predict when it will occur. Though not a serious problem, it is one that may cause your child to get bullied.

Kids Bully Over Many Different Things

Children often bully their peers over differences in their looks, sometimes over something as simple as a child having red hair. Sadly, children with Stahl's ear might get picked on. You might not think that children would notice this problem, but they are very perceptive.

For example, KISS singer and guitarist Paul Stanley suffered from a condition known as Grade 3 Microtia, which caused him to have very small ears (including a closed ear canal). He was heavily teased about this as a child, which led to him developing severe psychological problems. Later in life, he received surgery to correct the problem.

Treating Stahl's Ear

If your child suffers from Stahl's ear, it's best to get it treated as soon as possible. For example, it can be molded if it is caught in the first few months of their life, when the ear is malleable and easy to form. You should be able to notice this problem around that age, but there is a chance that you either missed it or your child developed it later in life.

That's when pediatric plastic surgery is necessary. This type of surgery is known as otoplasty, and it is designed to reshape the ear into the more traditional shape. It is usually done after the age of five, as the cartilage in the ear usually takes that long to get strong and firm enough to withstand the surgery and maintain the new shape.

To learn more about this procedure or to schedule a free inspection, call your nearest pediatric plastic surgeon. They can assess the problem, decide if surgery is necessary, and help your child get ears that won't get them teased. Though we should never be judged solely by our looks, the bullying caused by deformities such as Stahl's ear can scar a child for life.