Choosing Otoplasty for Your Child: Is It the Right Time for Ear Surgery?

Otoplasty Surgery at the Surgical Arts Centre in Missoula, Montana When we think of many types of cosmetic surgery, we often think about battling the aging process or looking more like we did when we were younger. However, some forms of cosmetic surgery are simply about correcting small deformities and looking more like any other person. In many cases, those who undergo otoplasty – more commonly known as ear surgery or ear pinning – only want their ears to look normal, to be even, and to lie closer to their head, nothing more.

Otoplasty for Children

Because ear surgery is a relatively simple procedure that corrects for large, uneven, or misshapen ears, the operation may take place when patients are either children or adults. Many cosmetic surgeons agree that an otoplasty can safely take place on children as young as four without any increased risks or changes in outcome. However, many parents wonder if they should act as quickly as possible to correct their children's ear appearance. Considerations regarding when to conduct ear surgery include:
  • Teasing and self-esteem. Unfortunately, other children and even adults can be cruel. Your child may be teased regarding his or her ears from a very young age – and the consequences of teasing could last a lifetime. Correcting your child's ears at a younger age may avoid needless teasing and prevent most schoolmates from knowing that an otoplasty took place.
  • Ear cartilage. The ear cartilage of a younger child is softer and more mailable that the cartilage of a grown adult and therefore easier to change and manipulate during surgery. This may result in a easier surgery and a better final outcome.
  • Relapse tendencies. Children's ears are fully developed by the age of four or five, so any ear surgery that takes place will be permanent. However, as with many cosmetic surgeries, there are often small relapse tendencies over the years that may slightly affect your child's ear surgery results.
  • Your child's input. Some parents prefer to wait until their child is old enough to make a mature and informed decision about their ears. Others are confident that they are making the right decision and believe that their child can provide sufficient input at their current age.
  • Your doctor's opinion. A cosmetic surgeon can speak with you about the pros and cons of performing the procedure soon or waiting until a later date. There may be considerations unique to your child's case and your family.
It is important to note that otoplasty in children as young as four has been extensively studied by doctors and found to be safe and effective. In fact, otoplasty studies have shown that children benefit from ear pinning at a early age before they or their peers are acutely aware of their appearance.

Learn More About Otoplasty at the Surgical Arts Centre

At the Surgical Arts Centre, we have helped both children and adults gain confidence and self-esteem through otoplasty. In each case, we consult with the family, help then weigh the pros and cons of the choice, and closely review the patient's medical history. To learn more about otoplasty for children, to schedule a consultation, or to ask us a question about the procedure, please call us today at (406) 549-6600.
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