If you look back on your childhood years, you might remember a classmate who picked on you relentlessly. Kids can be cruel, calling attention to perceived flaws in their peers. Now that you have kids of your own, you most likely want to do everything you can to keep them from being bullied.
For some parents, that means deciding to have their child undergo ear surgery, or otoplasty, at a young age. While most other types of plastic surgery are reserved for adults or fully-grown teenagers, otoplasty is one surgery that can be performed on kids, and is in fact, actually recommended for that age group if the need arises.
No matter how old your child is, the decision to have ear surgery isn’t one to take lightly. There are a few things to think about, including his or her emotional maturity and how he or she might respond to the surgery.
Types of Ear Issues
There are a few reasons why you might think that ear surgery is a good option for your child. One common reason for the surgery is that the ears stick out or protrude from the sides of the head. The surgery can also be performed to reduce the size of very large ears or to fix ears that have folded over themselves.
The Right Age
Children’s ears are usually nearly fully grown by the time they are age 5, making the years between age 5 and 14 the ideal time for otoplasty. The ears are not only the right size when a child is younger, the cartilage is also still soft and malleable. It’s easier for a surgeon to shape and adjust the size of the ears when the procedure is performed on a younger person.
That doesn’t mean otoplasty can’t work on an adult. Fully grown people have ear surgery all of the time. But, having it done while a person is still a child can not only put a stop to any teasing or bullying, it can also make the surgery better.
Is Your Child Ready?
Age is really just a number when it comes to ear surgery, though. Some children’s ears might be ready for the procedure, but their minds might not be. If your child seems very fearful about the idea of having surgery, it might be best to put it off for a few a years or to postpone it indefinitely. Your child should understand what the surgery will involve and how long the recovery period will take. If he or she protests a lot, it’s best not to push the idea.
It’s also recommended that you wait to schedule the surgery until your child is able to listen to and follow directions. Your surgeon will give very specific instructions for you and the child to follow after the surgery. Not following the instructions can slow down the healing or increase his or her risk for complications.
Your child’s health also plays a big part in determining if he or she is ready for otoplasty. If ear infections are a chronic problem, your surgeon will most likely recommend putting off the surgery until the infections clear up or until they are less of a common occurrence.
Scheduling the Surgery
You’ll most likely want to schedule the surgery at a time that’s least likely to interfere with your child’s daily activities. Summer break is often recommended, but if your child is an avid swimmer or likes to play sports, scheduling otoplasty for the summer months can interfere with his or her activity schedule.
Another ideal time for ear surgery might be during your child’s winter holiday break, especially if it is a week or longer. In most cases, children need about five to seven days to recover from the surgery, after which they can head back to school. The surgeon will usually recommend waiting another few weeks before your child can go back to activities such as gym class or sports.
Facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Stephen Smith is a fourth generation surgeon in Ohio. He can evaluate your child’s ears and let you know if ear surgery is the right choice at the moment. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Smith at his Gahanna, Ohio practice, call (614) 702-7342. You can also see Dr. Smith in Columbus, Ohio. Call 614-678-7180 to schedule an appointment today.