Making the decision to have your child undergo otoplasty (ear reshaping surgery) can be a difficult one. Normally, it’s necessary to wait until adulthood for plastic surgery, as many parts of the body do not mature until the mid to late teens. With otoplasty, however, it’s best to perform the surgery when the ears have matured, but are still pliable. This occurs around the ages of 4-6 years. Many parents are worried about making this major decision for their children at such a young age, but early otoplasty can help prevent bullying. Plus, parents can get the surgery over with before a child is even likely to remember it later in life.
If you’re thinking about otoplasty for your child, then you might be concerned about the actual logistics of the surgery and recovery. After all, young children are very active. Getting a child to understand that they must relax and sit still while they heal can be a challenge. Fortunately, children tend to heal quickly, and the otoplasty recovery period will likely be easier than you think. With that said, here are some tips for making the brief recovery period more successful for everyone involved.
Give Medication as Directed
The good news is that post-surgical discomfort shouldn’t be too severe. Over-the-counter pain medications may be able to control any pain your child may have after the surgery. If not, your surgeon can help you determine which pain management techniques should be used. No one wants their child to be in pain, and keeping on top of their medication will help ensure recovery is more comfortable.
Relax Screen Time Rules
Although you may have strict limits on how much TV, computer, or tablet time your child can have each day, you may want to think about relaxing those rules during the recovery period. Your child is more likely to sit still and allow their ears to heal if they are allowed to watch shows and movies or play games. You can set up an area with pillows and blankets where they can be comfortable and have their head elevated to reduce swelling while they enjoy more screen time than they’re used to. Most kids are thrilled at this little treat, which can make the recovery period more enjoyable for parents and kids alike.
Do Projects Together
Since they won’t be able to run and play with their friends or play sports for a few weeks, the recovery period is a perfect time to do craft, art, and cooking projects together. New coloring books, making play dough or clay creations, and baking cookies are all great low-key projects you can do with your child while they recover from otoplasty. Doing something fun and unusual that doesn’t risk injury to the ears will help keep kids from jostling the area and compromising their results.
Stock up on Books
Get your reading voice ready! Recovery is the perfect opportunity to pick up a pile of books from the library and read together. Whether you’re still doing all the reading or your child is working on reading them to you, reading together is a great way to keep your child’s mind off their dressings and healing ears.
After the first few days, your child can resume light activities. Taking walks together can help kids stretch their legs and expend some extra energy without damaging their incisions or harming their reshaped ears. Ask your surgeon for advice on when your child can take walks, and make sure you don’t go too far—especially at first.
Be on the Lookout for Issues
As a parent, you’ll probably be looking for any signs of complications from day one. Be sure to ask your surgeon before the procedure what is and isn’t normal. This way, you can be on the lookout for issues that could arise during otoplasty recovery. You don’t want to be worried about every little thing, but catching signs of problems early on can be critical for preventing complications. The good news? Complications are rare, and most children heal very quickly after otoplasty.
Pay Attention to Surgeon Instructions for Otoplasty Recovery
The most important thing to remember is that you should follow your surgeon’s instructions to the letter. Those instructions will help ensure your child’s ears heal properly and retain their new shape. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask them. Your surgeon and his or her staff is your best resource—it’s best not to leave anything to chance during otoplasty recovery!
Choosing a Caring Facial Plastic Surgeon
If you haven’t yet chosen a facial plastic surgeon for your child’s procedure, it’s important to look for a board-certified facial plastic surgeon with years of experience in performing otoplasty. When meeting with prospective surgeons, make sure you feel comfortable—it’s essential that you choose a caring surgeon you can trust to perform your child’s surgery.
Dr. Edward Buckingham, a renowned double board-certified facial plastic surgeon, performs otoplasty at Buckingham Center in Austin, Texas. Dr. Buckingham’s concern for his patient’s welfare, his caring demeanor, and his experience make him a top choice for patients in the Austin area and from all over the country. To schedule an otoplasty consultation with Dr. Buckingham, call 512.401.2500 today.