Choosing whether or not to have an elective surgical procedure is an intensely personal decision. The decision process can become quite complicated when the individual considering an elective procedure is a child. Otoplasty is a cosmetic surgical procedure that improves specific abnormalities and deficiencies of the outer ear, resulting in a more balanced and natural appearance.
Children, in many cases, are more aware than adults realize. If your child has an ear deformity or ears that protrude significantly, they may already have an acute sensitivity about their ears or overall appearance. Being teased about their appearance can lead to social anxiety and low self-esteem. Undergoing an otoplasty can save your child from these problems.
However, as a parent, the ultimate decision rests with you. To help, we have compiled these factors of matters you can consider when determining whether otoplasty is right for your child.
No child should be pressured into an elective surgery of any kind unless he or she does not want it for themselves. Coercing a child into undergoing otoplasty can lead a young person to develop low self-confidence or poor body image issues. In most cases, any discussion about otoplasty is initiated because the child feels self-conscious about his or her appearance. If your child reports being concerned about their appearance or being teased, you can introduce the idea of surgery, but do so in a way that the child is able to fully grasp the motivation behind the surgery and make his or her own decision about pursuing the procedure. If your child is self-motivated about having an otoplasty, there will be a much higher level of satisfaction following the surgery when they see the results.
Otoplasty is not recommended for any child younger than 6 years old. This is because the smaller ears and weak ear cartilage of younger children will not yield quality cosmetic results. A child’s ears have reached at least 90 percent of their adult size by the age of 6. However, in some cases, it can be ideal to undergo otoplasty as soon as the ear cartilage is strong enough to withstand undergoing the procedure. Having an otoplasty at a relatively young age has another advantage; children at or near the age of 6 usually are old enough to participate in the decision whether or not to have surgery, but not so old that they have been the brunt of years of teasing about their appearance at school.
Any child undergoing an otoplasty should be mature enough to understand the procedure, including the reason behind having the surgery and being able to cooperate with instructions during the procedure and the post-op recovery period. Children also should be mature enough to understand that having an otoplasty will not suddenly alter body image or self-esteem issues.
Are you considering ear surgery for your child? A plastic surgeon who works with children needs to have a special level of experience and compassionate care. At Preminger Plastic Surgery, our staff has the experience and patience to work with patients of any age. Dr. Preminger is a mother herself. We can present the facts about otoplasty in a healthy, constructive, and positive manner. Ready to learn more? Call our office today at (212) 706-1900 to schedule your initial consultation.
Located on the upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City, Preminger Plastic Surgery is proud to offer world-class services in plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery.