A Parent's Guide to Otoplasty
Parents are understandably reluctant to consider any elective surgical procedure for their child. For most types of elective surgery, this hesitancy is justified, but one possible exception may be otoplasty. Otoplasty is a safe and effective plastic surgery procedure to correct ears that appear too large or prominent.
But why do this procedure on children? Why not wait until they are adults? Dr. Ramon Robles of Robles Plastic Surgery, in Phoenix, AZ, performs this procedure routinely on children aged 4 to 14, and there are several good reasons why. This parent's guide to otoplasty will examine the facts relating to otoplasty for children.
Why Are Children the Best Suited for This Surgery?
There are some aspects unique to children that make them good candidates for otoplasty. Perhaps most importantly, they are at a delicate period in their lives when even minor traumatic events can cause deep psychological scars. Children who have "big ears" are subject to ridicule, teasing, and bullying by their peers, and this can cause deep-rooted self-image issues. Many medical professionals believe that the positive effects of otoplasty on a child's self-esteem far outweigh the risks associated with doing the procedure.
Children who have "big ears" are subject to ridicule, teasing, and sometimes bullying by their peers, and this can cause deep-rooted self-image issues.
Generally, surgery on young patients is relatively safe and causes little trauma. Otoplasty is performed under general anesthesia, so the child will have little or no memory of anything relating to the surgery. The physical resiliency so typical of children helps them to recover relatively quickly.
Another unique aspect of otoplasty for children is that the cartilage in the ears of youngsters—as opposed to that in adult patients—has not yet matured. This means that the tissue is more malleable and receptive to surgical shaping. Consequently, otoplasty for younger patients involves less healing time and often has better results than with adults.
One final advantage children have over adults is that they typically have summer breaks from school. This is the perfect time to schedule an otoplasty without it adversely affecting their schoolwork or other school activities. The recovery time for this procedure—approximately six to eight weeks—fits nicely into the vacation period, so that the impact on the child is minimized. If it is necessary to do the surgery during the school months, parents can expect their child to miss about one week of school.
Discuss Otoplasty with Your Child
Parents should always bear in mind that the decision to schedule their child for otoplasty is not theirs alone. It is a matter they must frankly and honestly discuss with their child, regardless of age. In some cases, it may be advisable to consult a child psychologist or school counselor, as well. Whatever the ultimate decision, the child must have the opportunity to weigh in, and he or she must express consent and a desire to go forward with the surgery.
Schedule a Consultation
Parents who are still unsure but would like to learn more about otoplasty for their child are encouraged to call Dr. Ramon Robles at (602) 737-0323 or contact our office online Dr. Robles is a board-certified plastic surgeon with many years of experience and many successful otoplasty procedures in children to his credit. He will discuss with both parents and the child the pros and cons of surgery and help all parties concerned arrive at the decision that is best for the child.