Otoplasty, a cosmetic ear-reshaping procedure, is common for people with protruding or deformed ears. Unlike most plastic surgeries, otoplasty is frequently performed on young children, as this has been established as a practice that can help prevent bullying and other social problems that can be encountered in school. The decision of whether or not to move forward with otoplasty for a child is difficult for a parent to make. So how do you know if your child is ready for ear reshaping surgery?
Good Ages for Surgery
The ears mature very quickly, and because of this, the recommended age for otoplasty in children is very young–between 4 and 6 years old, typically. This is a good age for the procedure for a couple of reasons. First, performing the surgery before a child begins kindergarten can help head off teasing and bullying that may result from protruding or misshapen ears. Children who are teased in this manner are at risk for self-esteem and confidence issues as they grow and mature. Second, the ear cartilage is very pliable, and children generally recover quite well from the procedure. When otoplasty is performed at this age, children tend to only have faint memories of the procedure later in life. While this age range is a good time to seek otoplasty, it is not necessarily the right time for every child.
Is There a Current Problem?
If your child is already feeling insecure about the appearance of his or her ears, or has already experienced torment from peers, it may not be obvious. Children may keep these feelings to themselves, feeling ashamed or scared to confide. If you suspect your child may be suffering emotionally on account of an ear deformity, it is probably a good idea to explore the idea of surgery.
Not all children have the emotional maturity to undergo otoplasty at a young age. It is up to you and your family to decide whether or not your child can handle the pre- and post-operative care, as well as the major changes to appearance that come with ear surgery.
Family consultations with prospective surgeons can accomplish a lot toward assessing your child’s feelings about ear surgery. Consultations are important for meeting and developing a rapport with surgeons, asking questions, and getting an idea of what the process entails. Most surgeons utilize imaging technology to provide prospective patients with a rough preview of the expected results of surgery. This will help your child understand the procedure better, and will allow you to get a feel for whether this is something your child is excited about.
A Big Decision
Obviously, otoplasty for your child is not a decision to undertake lightly. Talk it over with all involved parties, do lots of research, and do not move forward until you’re sure otoplasty is the right choice for your child. Remember, the surgery does not have to be performed at a specific time, and is successfully performed on young adults frequently.
A Surgeon You Can Trust
When it comes to your child, you want nothing but the best. Should you decide to move forward with otoplasty, it is extremely important to find a reputable surgeon you can trust with your child’s safety and eventual results. During your search, you should speak with an experienced, board certified surgeons, with board certification by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery or the American Board of Plastic Surgery. If you’re looking for a facial surgery expert in Austin, then come to Buckingham Center for a consultation with board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Edward Buckingham. Dr. Buckingham offers compassionate care and beautiful results to patients young and old, and is standing by to help you plan your child’s otoplasty. Call 512-401-2500 today to schedule your consultation.