When it comes to most plastic surgery procedures, parents aren’t usually involved. The vast majority of patients are adults–and for good reason. Plastic surgery is an extremely personal decision that should typically be made by the person getting the procedure, rather than by a loved one. Aside from that, some parts of the body (such as the nose) do not mature until a child is well into their teens. But there is one procedure that is a major exception: otoplasty, or ear reshaping. Often, the best otoplasty candidates are children who haven’t even started kindergarten. But why is this the case? Is your child mature enough for the procedure?
What is Otoplasty?
Otoplasty, also known as “ear pinning” is a common cosmetic surgery. It brings protruding ears closer to the head and can address other ear deformities that can make children feel embarrassed about their appearance. Most young children aren’t self-conscious of their ears at first. It typically begins when other children notice they are “different” and start to make comments. Otoplasty is a simple surgery that can permanently change the shape of the ears and help children feel more confident in school or social situations.
Why are Children Good Otoplasty Candidates?
There are three main reasons that otoplasty is typically best for young patients.
First, the ears mature much earlier than other parts of the body–usually by the time a child is five or six years of age. Second, children are often teased for large or protruding ears, and reshaping them before a child enters school can sometimes prevent bullying. Finally, the ear cartilage is more malleable in young children, which can make the procedure more successful overall. Some parents also hope that the surgery will be less traumatic for a child when they’re young and able to bounce back quickly. Many children eventually forget the experience altogether.
Still, choosing otoplasty for your child is never an easy decision. Some children are more mature than others. It’s very important to make your decision based on your family’s unique situation.
Is Your Child Mature Enough for Otoplasty?
As a parent considering otoplasty, you have some responsibilities. The first is to think about your motivations for seeking otoplasty for your child. Are you moving forward with your child’s best interests at heart? This is the time to put aside your own feelings and think about your child’s. Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering whether or not your child is ready for plastic surgery.
Can They Fully Understand the Procedure?
Five to seven-year-olds can be developmentally very different. Before you decide on otoplasty for your child, you should explain the procedure fully and make sure they understand what the operation is. You don’t need to go into graphic detail, but you should make sure that they know what to expect. Going into the reasons for the procedure may feel difficult or awkward, but it’s essential that children are kept informed and consent to the operation.
Do You Have to Bribe or Push Them?
Some kids already feel self-conscious about their ears are excited about the prospect of changing them. If you have to bribe your child or push them to say “yes” to the surgery, you should definitely wait. You should never make such an important decision without your child’s voluntary cooperation.
Will They Follow the Rules for Recovery?
After surgery, kids need to slow down. They will wear a soft bandage around their ears and take it easy for a week or two. They won’t be able to play contact sports for a while, and they need to be willing to follow directions to ensure proper healing and safety. A child who bounces off the walls and won’t take direction may not yet be mature enough for otoplasty.
Take Your Time and Talk to An Expert
Any parent who is seriously considering otoplasty for their child will need to schedule a consultation with a plastic surgeon. During a family otoplasty consultation, the surgeon will examine the child’s ears, discuss goals and concerns, and answer questions as needed. It is crucial to work with a surgeon you trust, and consultations allow you to get to know a surgeon. A consultation should give you more information and confidence to make the choice that’s right for your child. The surgery can make a major positive difference in a child’s self-esteem and confidence in the long term, but only for the right otoplasty candidates.
Choosing otoplasty for your child is a huge decision. It’s a good idea to take your time to think about it and get as much information as you can. Although the best otoplasty candidates are usually children, adults can also get good results from the surgery. If you’re unsure, you can always wait until your child is older, more mature, and able to provide more input.
If you’d like to talk with an expert about your child’s candidacy and the pros and cons of otoplasty at a young age, then the plastic surgeons at Aesthetic Surgery Center in Naples, FL can help. To learn more about otoplasty with one of our expert plastic surgeons, call (239)-594-9100 or use the practice’s contact form to schedule a consultation.