While the majority of plastic surgery procedures are reserved for adults, such as rhinoplasty, facelift or brow lift, one procedure is more commonly performed on children. Parents often decide to let their children have ear surgery, or otoplasty, to reduce the chance that a child will be made fun of for having prominent or protruding ears.
Otoplasty can be performed on children as young as age 5. While the surgery can improve a child’s quality of life considerably, the surgical process and the recovery period can be frightening or uncomfortable for a small child. Here are a few tips to help your child recover comfortably from the surgery.
One of the most important things you can do as a parent during your child’s recovery from ear surgery is try to keep him or her as comfortable as possible. Your child’s surgeon will most likely prescribe pain medication which you can give to your child to help reduce any discomfort.
At home, you might want to set up a special recovery zone for your child. It’s important that he or she keep the head elevated after the procedure. Set up a comfortable chair with plenty of pillows to help him or her recline while supporting the head.
Keeping Child Engaged
Your child will most likely need to take it very easy for at least a week after the surgery. Now is a good time to have plenty of movies for him or her to watch or a good selection of books for him or her to read. Some movement is recommended after the surgery. Try to go for walks with your child on a regular basis. For example, you might take a stroll to the ice cream shop together a few days after the surgery.
In many cases, your child will have to wear a thick, heavy bandage for the first few days after the surgery. You’ll want to avoid getting the bandage wet. If your child complains about the bandage, do your best to assure him or her that it will come off soon and that he or she will feel better then.
After the first bandage is removed, it’s likely that it will be replaced with a lighter weight dressing. Usually, the child only has to wear the second dressing for a day or so. He or she might be very happy to have the lighter bandage on and even happier once it’s gone, too.
Cleaning the Ears and Head
After the second bandage is taken off of your child’s head, you can start washing the area. Washing the ears and head will help reduce any itching your child feels. Stick with a gentle shampoo or cleanser when washing the hair and skin on the head at this stage. Use warm water to wash the area and avoid using a hair dryer, as excessive heat can cause discomfort. You can also apply an antibiotic ointment to the incision site.
Returning to School
Usually, your child will be ready to go back to school after about a week. You can give him advice to help him answer any questions from his fellow classmates. To avoid a lot of questions, some parents decide to schedule ear surgery for the summertime or over a long school vacation. Scheduling the surgery during a break also cuts down on the amount of school your child has to miss.
Exercise and Activity
Even though your child can engage in light activities, such as going for a walk or studying for quizzes, he or she will need to avoid strenuous activities for at least a month, if not longer. If the surgery is scheduled for the school year, your child might need a doctor’s note to excuse him or her from gym class.
Your child’s athletic schedule might be something to think about when scheduling the ear surgery. For example, if your child plays baseball or softball, it might be best to schedule the surgery in the off-season, so that he or she doesn’t have to miss out.
Voted Best in Brevard, Dr. Ross Clevens is the only practicing, board-certified facial plastic surgeon between St. Augustine and Orlando. If you are considering ear surgery for your child, Dr. Clevens is able to answer any questions you have, about the procedure itself, about the recovery period, and about the opportune time to schedule it. To schedule an appointment, call (321) 727-3223 today.