The ears mature quickly, and if your child has an ear deformity, you may hope that the ears will normalize over time. Unfortunately, the fact is that most deformities are permanent. By the time a child is 4 or 5 years old, problems like protruding ears, “lop” ears (ears with a fold at the top), and more serious deformities are set and will not change as the child gets older. While this may seem like bad news, there is a silver lining: the quick maturity of the ears allows for plastic surgery to be performed at an early age, potentially heading off bullying that can damage a child’s social development and self-esteem.
Otoplasty for Young Children
Otoplasty is an ear-reshaping procedure that is routinely performed on children as young as 4 years of age. It is used to address many different aesthetic issues of the ears, but is most commonly sought to address protruding ears that can cause children embarrassment. Often referred to as ear “pinning,” the surgery actually reshapes the ear for permanent improvement. When performed on young children, general anesthesia is used, and parents must be diligent about aftercare to avoid complications.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Early Intervention
There are many benefits to choosing otoplasty for your young child. Performing the surgery early in life will help reduce chances of bullying when the child enters school, an experience that can have serious negative impacts later in life. When performed early enough, many children don’t even remember having the deformity or the procedure. Children also heal quickly and are more resilient than some people think.
Naturally, there are also some drawbacks to early otoplasty, including the fact that a young child may not be able to fully grasp what is going on and may not be able to provide his or her own opinion on the procedure. Of course, you should only move forward if you and your child are comfortable doing so. There are also always risks associated with surgery, even if those risks are small, and the cost of the procedure can be off-putting for some families considering the surgery.
Of course, if you choose not to move forward with otoplasty for your young child, he or she can still choose to pursue treatment later in life. There is no age limit on otoplasty, and though cartilage is less flexible in adults, it is still very possible to get good results from the procedure when it is performed during adulthood.
A Family Decision
Unfortunately, there is no way to say for sure whether you should choose otoplasty for your child. It is entirely a family decision, and what is right for one family may not be right for another. The best way to make the decision is to do as much research as possible and to discuss the procedure both among family and with a qualified plastic surgeon. Don’t rush into making a decision—you don’t want to regret your choice later on.
The Right Surgeon
Of course, the idea of your child going through a surgical procedure is scary, despite the excellent safety record of otoplasty, and the ability children have to bounce back quickly. The best way to help ease your fears is to choose the right plastic surgeon for the job. You will want to find an experienced and skilled facial plastic surgeon who is board certified and has worked with children extensively. In addition to impeccable credentials and skills, it is important to find a compassionate provider who will support you and your family every step of the way.
If you are looking for an expert in the Toronto area, come to Revesse and meet with double board certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Robert A. Mounsey. Dr. Mounsey is an acclaimed specialist who has a comforting bedside manner and the skills to help families get excellent results from otoplasty. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Mounsey, call Revesse at 416-438-2499 today.