Have you ever seen a person with pointed or elf-like ears? That person may have Stahl’s ear, a congenital imperfection of the ear. These ears are also sometimes called Spock’s ears, after the character in Star Trek. Many types of congenital ear deformities can be corrected through ear surgery (otoplasty).
One of these conditions is known as Stahl’s Ear. It is a malformation of the cartilage in the upper external ear that is recognizable by the elf shape with flat and pointed upper helix.
What are the causes of Stahl’s Ear?
The upper third of the ear normally has two folds that create the triangular depression known as the triangular fossa. In Stahl’s ear, there is frequently a third fold that terminates in a pointed area at the junction of the upper and middle thirds of the external ear.
There are many abnormalities and imperfections in ear shape that are congenital (present at birth). Ears can be overly protruding or have an unusual shape or both. These conditions can be treated effectively through ear surgery or otoplasty. If detected at birth and treated within the first few weeks of life, many of these conditions can be treated non-surgically with ear molding.
What is ear molding?
Ear molding is a type of non-surgical treatment that is performed right after birth. This treatment decreases the likelihood and sometimes eliminates the need for corrective surgery when the child is older.
The ears develop during the first 4 weeks of fetal gestation. If that process does not occur completely, then various forms of underdeveloped ears may be present at birth. One of these conditions is called anotia and reconstructive ear surgery (the most major form of otoplasty) can help.
What is Anotia?
Anotia is the most extreme form of microtia. Microtia literally means “little ear” and can be just that - a little ear - or it can refer to almost complete absence of the ear with the presence of only a nubbin of tissue where the ear would normally be. Anotia refers to the complete absence of any ear remnant at all. Microtia is quite common but anotia is extremely rare; there is almost always some evidence of an ear. These conditions most commonly affect one ear (90% of the time) and much less commonly affect both ears (10% of the time). When the outer, visible portion of the ear is underdeveloped, the ear canal and eardrum are usually absent and the middle ear is also usually underdeveloped, resulting in hearing loss on that side.
Cryptotia is a somewhat rare congenital anomaly of the ear where the upper portion of the auricle is hidden beneath the scalp. In some cases, the contour of the hidden cartilage is totally normal and in some cases, it is misshapen and requires correction. This condition is most commonly seen in patients of Asian descent. The cause is unknown. This particular condition is not inherited; that is, it is not passed from a parent to a child.
Although it does not affect hearing, patients will have difficulties wearing eyeglasses or masks. Like any ear deformity that is easy to see, cryptotia can gnaw away the person’s self-esteem. Fortunately, there are ways to treat this condition:
The size and shape of your earlobes are extremely important to the aesthetic appearance of your ears. Regardless of gender or hairstyle, the earlobes are the portion of the ears that are most visible. Because of genetics, aging, or trauma due to previous piercings or accidents, you may have misshapen or unsightly earlobes. In most cases, repair of the earlobe is a simple surgical procedure under local anesthesia in the office setting.
The earlobe is the fleshy, lower part of your external ear or auricle that, unlike the upper 3/4 of the ear, contains no cartilage. Although obviously piercings can occur anywhere, the vast majority of women have piercings of the earlobes.