When it comes to choosing plastic surgery for yourself, the decision may be an easy one. When it comes to choosing plastic surgery for your child, the decision may get a little more complex. Otoplasty is a common plastic surgery procedure for boys and girls under the age of 14. That being said, there are a lot of factors to consider when deciding to let your child undergo elective surgery. Let’s go over everything you should think about when considering otoplasty for your child.
What is Involved in an Otoplasty?
Otoplasty is a surgical cosmetic procedure in which the ears’ shape, size, and orientation are adjusted to better suit the patient’s facial features and proportions. This is done by either removing cartilage from the ears, using grafts of cartilage to build up areas around the ear, removing soft tissues from the ear or by suturing the ears closer to the head. The procedure itself doesn’t take very long to complete, and the recovery period is relatively short.
Otoplasty During Childhood Has its Advantages
A child’s body is constantly growing and changing, however, the ears fully develop by the time the child is five years old. That being said, many younger children will know the permanent appearance of their ears by the time they enter elementary school. If your child is complaining about the appearance of their ears because of comments made by other children, having otoplasty performed at a young age will better help them build their confidence in the way they look throughout elementary school and beyond.
In addition to the emotional benefits of having otoplasty done at a young age, there are physiological benefits. Children ages four to 14 have ear cartilage that is more moldable than adults 18 and older. The younger tissues being more pliable make for more favorable outcomes than when otoplasty is done on rigid tissue in adults. Children also have the added benefit of healing faster than their older counterparts.
Make Your Child Part of the Decision
The biggest factor you should consider when making this decision is your child’s opinion. Make them aware of the procedure available if they show concerns about the appearance of their ears, and educate them on the process it will take to get them fixed. Walk them through the procedure and recovery process step by step and have a serious conversation with them about whether it is something they would be interested in doing. While the ultimate decision rests in your hands, as the parent, it’s always important and comforting to know your child’s opinion in the process.
Recovery from the procedure is fairly easy, however, there are still post-operative care instructions that need to be followed to ensure a healthy and fast recovery. This typically includes the ears being held down with bandages for about a week, then up to six more weeks using a nightly headband to keep the ears in their proper healing position. Because of this, consider the time frame in which you and your child plan the otoplasty to take place. A summer vacation or a break from the school year may be best.
Do you still have questions about otoplasty? Contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hueneke. He’ll sit down with you and your child, and answer any questions you may have about the procedure and recovery period.