Now that school is out, many parents will be considering their options to help their children with protruding ears (Promin Auris). This corrective surgery is called Otoplasty. It can take ears that stick out or fold abnormally and streamline them closer to the head. Teasing can be cruel for children who have this abnormality, and it can affect self esteem into adult years, as many of my adult Otoplasty clients have confessed.
IS OTOPLASTY SAFE FOR CHILDRN?
As with any procedure on children, it is wise to consider the risks, but generally Otoplasty is considered a safe surgery for children and adults in good health. It is extremely important to consider who is performing the surgery. I have multiple board certifications, specialties and years of experience, so you or your child will be safe in my hands.
WHAT AGE IS RECOMMENDED TO PERFORM THE SURGERY? Children can perceive their ears are different and whether they’re being made fun of as young as 3 to 4 years old. By 6 six years old these hurtful comments can negatively affect their self esteem. I suggest the age of 6 for the surgery because the ear has achieved 90% of its adults’ size. By forming more streamlined ears at 6 years old, we can prevent psychological damage caused by teasing and the minimal amount of remaining ear growth won’t affect the surgical correction.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN THE SURGERY? Otoplasty is a safe, simple and common procedure. It is performed in a state of the art outpatient surgery facility with all of the latest technology. For a small child, I normally use general anesthesia. For older children and adults, I use local anesthesia combined with sedation. Depending on the extensiveness of the correction, surgery takes from 2 to 3 hours. The incisions are well hidden behind the ears so they’re not detectible by the common eye.
HOW IS THE RECOVERY? The recovery is relatively quick and well tolerated by adults who can usually return to work in a couple days. Children have a little harder time with recovery, but to what extent will depend on their nature. There will be some discomfort that can be managed with pain medication, but this aching and throbbing of the area will last only the first few days. Most patients are up and about within a few hours of surgery, but it’s very important to take it easy with lots of rest those first couple days. The head will be wrapped in a gauze turban to protect the ears during the initial healing and stitches will be removed or will dissolve in about a week.
As any parent knows, dealing with the gauze, tape, stitches, discomfort and downtime won’t be fun for you or your child, but it is just for a short time and the long term benefits are tremendous for your child’s self esteem. The summer months are the ideal time for children to undergo the surgery since there’s no school to miss, peers to explain it to, and there’s usually a break from the seasonal organized sports activities.
Please visit www.davinciplastic.com to schedule a consultation where we can discuss how Otoplasty can help correct you or your child’s ear abnormalities from trauma, injuries or genetics.
Steven Davison M.D.
Board Certified Plastic/Reconstructive Surgeon