The cupped or constricted ear deformity occurs as a result of hooding of the superior helix of the ear. Frequently, this condition is noted near the time of birth.
When identified in the first days of life, and when the ear is mildly affected, this deformity may be amenable to treatment without surgery using ear molding techniques. In order for ear molding techniques to be effective, they usually must be implemented in the first 2 weeks of life. When this deformity is more severe or is diagnosed later in childhood, surgery may be required as the child approaches 4-5 years of age. Surgical correction of mild deformities typically involves unfurling the cartilage and using suturing techniques to encourage the cartilage to remain in its new position. As the severity of the the deformity increases, so does the complexity of the surgical correction.