Otoplasty is a cosmetic surgery for the ears and typically involves “pinning” back ears that are protruding from the head. Otoplasty can also involve reshaping cartilage and/or removing excess skin and tissue to create a more balanced and attractive appearance. Otoplasty is a common procedure and one that can be life-changing for a child who is bullied or ridiculed in school due to his or her ears.
If you are considering otoplasty for your child, it is probably already apparent that your child has ears that appear too large or stick out too far. Whether you fear others calling your child “Dumbo” or it has already occurred, it is understandable why you would want to consider this cosmetic procedure for your child sooner rather than later. Still, it is a surgery, and it’s important to weigh all of the risks and benefits before making a final decision.
Here are some FAQs to consider when determining whether Otoplasty is right for your particular child:
- What can otoplasty address?
- Otoplasty is not a cookie-cutter procedure. It should be carefully tailored to the unique needs and goals of each patient. In general, otoplasty is cosmetic and purely elective. However, this procedure can address a wide variety of ear concerns, including those that are cosmetic, reconstructive or functional in nature. It is very important to choose a plastic surgeon who is qualified to handle all of these aspects of otoplasty.
- What are the advantages of undergoing otoplasty as a child?
- First and foremost, the earlier you correct protruding or prominent ears in childhood, the more you’ll save them from the emotional and psychological distress of being teased in school. Building confidence early in life is critical to positive growth and lifelong stability. However, there are also clinical reasons to choose otoplasty as a child rather than an adult. Young tissues are more pliable, which means that the molding capacity of the ear cartilage is easier and the outcome of otoplasty can be more successful for a child versus an adult.
- Can a child be too young for otoplasty?
- While it is proven that childhood is an optimal time for otoplasty, this cosmetic procedure is not advised for children under the age of 5 or when the ears have reached full development. The ears do attain complete growth rather early compared to other body parts, but any cosmetic or reconstructive procedure before this milestone is not beneficial.
- The timing of otoplasty surgery can be difficult because of how the procedure may impact the child. The ears are maturing around the same time that a child is retaining lifelong memories.
- Will my child be traumatized by the surgery and recovery?
- Any surgical procedure carries risks, but otoplasty is a straight-forward procedure performed on non-critical tissue of the ear. It is also an outpatient procedure where your child can recovery comfortably at home. Depending on what your child’s otoplasty involved, you can expect bandages for about one week, and nightly elastic bands may be also recommended for a period of time. Antibiotics and pain relievers may also be prescribed after surgery. Otoplasty has a very high success rate and any downsides usually far outweigh the benefits of a lifetime of attractive ears and strong self-esteem.
Still trying to decide if otoplasty is best for your child? Please schedule a consult with world-renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Ben Talei. We are happy to answer your questions and address your concerns regarding any type of plastic surgery for your child.