Otoplasty, having the ears adjusted can change a child’s life; what a wonderful gift to give your child. For a child with “sticking out ears” or ears that are too big, teasing can be merciless and may damage your child’s self-esteem forever.
Whilst otoplasty can be performed on adults, it is more often done on children for the simple reason that it is not a major procedure and it saves years of torment if done timeously. The procedure adjusts the shape of the cartilage within the ear to allow the ear to lie closer to the side of the head. In cases where the ear lobe is particularly large it may be required to reduce the size of the ear lobe.
By the age of six months the cartilage that forms the shape of the ear is too hard to be remoulded and a surgical solution is then required if your child has prominent or abnormally large ears. Sometimes a child has normal ears as a baby but then the ears change size and shape as the child grows. The older the child. the harder the cartilage becomes until about five years of age when it is no longer floppy and soft. It is because the cartilage is soft before the age of five that surgery is recommended after the age of six when the hardened cartilage has a stronger structure and is better able to hold stitches.
There is no additional risk if plastic surgery to the ears is performed on adults. The procedure is usually done under general anaesthetic on children but with adults it is recommended that local anaesthetic is used. The operation generally lasts between sixty to eighty minutes and a bulky bandage is then applied to promote the best moulding and healing. A protective bandage is added and must be worn until the stitches are removed after a period of between five to ten days after surgery.
It is important to plan an otoplasty for your child to fit in with school holidays if possible. The bandages will draw unwanted attention and possible teasing. There may also be some discomfort. Children can usually go back to school after about seven days after surgery provided they take care on the playground. Most adults are able to return to work after five days.