Otoplasty, or ear surgery, is a bit different from most other types of facial plastic surgery.
While most surgeries are performed on fully grown adults, otoplasty is often recommended for and performed on young children.
The procedure involves repositioning the ears, so that they are less prominent.
Children are often ideal patients because their ear cartilage is still pliable and because performing the surgery early in life helps reduce the likelihood that a child will be picked on or bullied about his or her ears.
While performing ear surgery on a young child (usually older than 5-years-old) has its benefits, there are a few snags that can get in the way. Parents will want to go out of their way to make sure the child is really ready for the procedure, mentally and emotionally, not just physically.
Have Your Child Meet the Surgeon
A consultation before surgery is a must, whether the procedure is a rhinoplasty, facelift or otoplasty. Although you might be the one asking the questions during the consultation, it’s important that your child be present, so that the surgeon can examine his or her ears and see if they are ready for surgery. Having your child attend the consultation will also give everyone in the room a fair idea of whether or not the surgeon is a good match for him or her. Some kids are more fearful of doctors or adults than others, while some surgeons get along with children better than others. When you leave the consultation, both you and your child should feel confident about the surgeon.
Make Sure Your Child Understands
Before you decide that otoplasty is the right procedure for your child, you want to make sure he or she understands what the surgery involves. If you mention the surgery and your child seems frightened or insists that he or she doesn’t want it, it might be a good idea to postpone it until a later date.
It’s also a good idea to make sure your child is able to listen to instructions and take advice before you schedule otoplasty. While the recovery after the procedure is usually straightforward, it’s important that your child be able to understand why he or she can’t run around and play for a few weeks and why it’s important not to pick at the ears as they heal.
Scheduling the Surgery
Part of preparing for ear surgery is choosing the time and day for the procedure. If your child is in school, it’s often best to schedule the procedure for a vacation period, such as the summertime or the holiday break. Which vacation period you pick depends on your child’s activities.
Summer might be ideal for some kids, but not others. For example, if your child is an avid swimmer and likes to spend the bulk of his or her summer break at the beach or pool, scheduling otoplasty for then might not work, as your child will have to avoid swimming and excessive sun exposure. Waiting until a winter vacation break might be ideal in that case.
You can also have your child miss some days of school, if summer or winter break doesn’t work out. Talk to his or her teachers in advance to find out what work he or she will miss. It might be easier for a child to miss school if he or she is in preschool or kindergarten, compared to in middle or high school.
Your schedule also matters when it comes to figuring out the best time for the surgery. If you work, you’ll want to take some time off so that you can be with your child as he or she recovers.
Choose Clothing Carefully
It might seem like a simple thing, but what your child wears to the surgery and after it matters. Shirts that pull on over the head aren’t recommended the day of the surgery or while your child heals, as pulling the shirt on and off can bump the ears and affect healing. Instead of a T-shirt or other pullover, have your child wear a button-up or zip-up shirt to the surgery and every day for the next few weeks.
Otoplasty is a relatively simple surgery with a short recovery time. Getting your child ready for the procedure, emotionally and physically, will help him or her have the best outcome possible. Voted “Best in Brevard,” Dr. Ross Clevens, the only practicing, double board certified facial plastic surgeon in the area, is available to answer any questions you or your child might have and to help you both prepare for the procedure. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Clevens, call (321) 727-3223 today.