Ear surgery, also known as otoplasty or ear pinning, is one of the few plastic surgery procedures that is actually recommended for younger patients. In fact, this procedure is often performed on children as young as five to bring proportion to the facial profile before the child starts school. However, while there are definite advantages to undergoing this procedure at a young age, it is important to make sure your child is ready for surgery before moving forward with otoplasty. These questions can help you determine whether now is the right time for your child’s procedure.
WHAT IS THE ISSUE?
Ear surgery is typically done for one of the following concerns:
- Ears that protrude from the sides of the head
- Ears that fold over on the top (lop ears)
- Ears that are proportionately large for the rest of the face
- Ears that are asymmetrical (different sizes or shapes)
HOW DOES MY CHILD FEEL ABOUT HIS EARS?
Children can be very cruel at times, particularly when they encounter another child that looks different in some way. If your child is already getting teased about the size or shape of his ears, he may be experiencing a blow to his self-confidence. Some children may notice the difference in their ears on their own as well. If your child is unhappy about his appearance, he may be willing to undergo surgery to make a change.
HOW DOES MY CHILD FEEL ABOUT DOCTORS?
Some children have an inherent fear of doctors, which could directly impact their experience with ear surgery. Take your child with you to your first consultation. While you may be the one doing all the talking, it gives the plastic surgeon a chance to examine your child’s ears firsthand, and it gives you a chance to see how your child responds to the surgeon. If there is a significant amount of fear, it may be best to wait on surgery.
CAN MY CHILD FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS?
After surgery, you and your child will be given a set of instructions that will ensure proper healing of the ears after the procedure. It is important for your child to follow those instructions carefully to ensure the best possible outcome with the fewest complications. If your child is not going to be able to handle resting quietly and following the surgeon’s instructions in the days following the procedure, it may be best to wait a bit longer before moving forward with the surgery.