Although a large majority of cosmetic procedures are designed for adults who want to turn back the hands of time, facial plastic surgery goes far beyond facelifts and eye lifts, and it is not always indicated for aging adults. There are procedures that correct congenital deformities, or aesthetic flaws that were present at birth. Otoplasty is a procedure that many children take advantage of. In such cases, these young patients may just want to look more “normal” and avoid peer ridicule.
Otoplasty is commonly known as ear surgery or ear pinning. It can correct “dumbo ears”, or ears that are uneven, large, misshapen or protruding from the head. Otoplasty can be performed on children and adults. However, many parents elect to correct their child’s ears sooner rather than later to avoid the social consequences and potential damage to their self-esteem. Although it is a relatively simple procedure, it is understandable that parents want to weigh the pros and cons to make the right decision when it comes to their child and plastic surgery.
Here are some common considerations that parents face when deciding on the right timing for otoplasty:
Doctor Input: First and foremost, surgery should be agreed upon by your plastic surgeon and primary physician. Most plastic surgeons recommend that ear surgery be performed after the ears have fully grown, or around the age of 5 or 6.
Peer Ridicule: Teasing and your child’s self-esteem is a significant factor for many parents who are considering ear surgery. Correcting your child’s ears at a younger age may help your child avoid the lifelong impact of being made fun of.
Ear cartilage: Ear cartilage tends to be softer and more moldable in a child compared to that of an adult. Therefore, otoplasty may be easier and more successful in a child.
Relapse Possibility: It is possible that a slight relapse may occur and affect your child’s ear surgery results, as this is the case with any plastic surgery done at an early age. Otoplasty is permanent, but this is something parents should know and consider.
Your Child’s Involvement: Parents should decide whether or not they want to wait until their child can provide mature and informed input in the decision for ear surgery or if they are confident they are making the right decision at their current age.
If you are considering ear surgery for your child, Dr. Talei of the Beverly Hills Center for Plastic & Laser Surgery can discuss the benefits and risks with you in great detail. It is important for parents to know that otoplasty has proven to be a safe procedure and highly successful at a young age.