Unlike many cosmetic surgery procedures, which are typically aimed at middle-aged or older patients, otoplasty (ear surgery, intended to reduce large or protruding ears) is commonly performed on children. This is because the ear matures at a very young age, around age 4 to 6, and many parents wish to spare their child the embarrassment and shame of teasing from their peers by having the surgery performed before the child has a chance to suffer from bullying. However, other parents do not make this choice, and sometimes adults who have been embarrassed for years by protruding ears eventually elect to have the procedure performed.
Does Age Make a Difference?
There is no difference in the otoplasty surgery itself between children and adults. The advantage of undergoing the procedure as an adult, of course, is the self-awareness and assured desire to change the shape of the ears. The disadvantage is the firmness of the ear cartilage. Young children’s ears are soft and pliable, while adult ear cartilage does not yield and shape as readily. For the best chance of success, it’s important to select a facial plastic surgeon who is highly experienced in performing otoplasty on all ages.
Anesthesia and Costs
Yet another advantage to adult otoplasty is the method for anesthesia. While young children are routinely put under general anesthesia for ear reshaping, adults are usually able to tolerate the procedure under local anesthetic. This negates the need for a hospital stay and leads to much lower costs for the patient.
Procedure & Recovery Time
The surgical method may vary for different types of ear protrusion and shaping, but the process usually takes 2-3 hours. Initial recovery takes about a week (most patients return to work at this time), but the ears still require special care for several months after the surgery. After the sutures are put in place, the patient must wear bandages and a headband to keep the ears in place while they heal.
How Otoplasty Can Affect Confidence
Many people with large or protruding ears experience teasing and cruelty from peers, particularly early in life. This can encourage introversion, self-esteem issues, and low confidence. Otoplasty, though a simple surgery, often allows patients to finally feel confident in their appearance and become happier and more outgoing. If you’ve always felt self-conscious about your ears, visit Revesse in Toronto for a consultation with acclaimed facial plastic surgeon Dr. Robert A. Mounsey. Call 416.438.2499 today to schedule your appointment.