Is Otoplasty or Whim for Children a Necessity?

Otoplasty for Children
PLASTIC SURGERY

Introduction

People with ears that are far from the head or too big are often the target of bullying and name-calling, especially children. Of course, there are some who won’t mind this and will make this little imperfection a part of their personal charm. Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone. It is often the children confronted with this issue that feel a constant emotional discomfort because of this. So should we correct this imperfection in children and help them avoid bullying to have a normal emotional development?

Today’s question is whether otoplasty performed on children is a necessity or a whim. Before discussing this at length, we should find out more about congenitally prominent ears.

Ear deformities

Ears that are not close to the head is one of the most common congenital malformations of the head. Studies show that approximately 5% of people have ears like this. The fact that the ears are not close enough to the head is visible even from the birth of the child, and the imperfection becomes more and more visible with the development of the child.

The size and shape of the ears are actually inherited from parents and grandparents. So when it comes to your ears, you should know that it is all in the genes. The ear starts to form when the baby is five to six weeks during pregnancy, and it is fully visible when the pregnancy is over 20 weeks old.

There are a few common reasons for prominent ears. If the superior part of the ear does not evolve, then the exterior part of the ear will be prominent as the antihelix won’t be formed. If the central part of the cartilage is developing too fast, the antihelix will form irregularly and the whole ear will look prominent. These two reasons, taken together or separately, make the ears look far from the head.

At first sight, ears that are not close enough to the head can be observed if they are more than 2.5 cm away from the head and the angle between the ear and the head is bigger than 30 degrees. Of course, when it comes to ear imperfections, prominent ears are just one case, but there are also other pathologies that can only be corrected through surgery.

Some parents whose children have ear deformities often wonder if the ears can be corrected in time if they just put an elastic band on the child’s ears at night. It is important to know that this problem won’t be fixed whatever you do. The only fast and efficient solution is offered via plastic surgery, and it is called otoplasty.

 

When is a good time to undergo an otoplasty?

For prominent ears, there are usually three main age categories:

–    Children 5 to 6 years old, just before they start school

–    Teenagers between 13-16 years old

–    Adults

Some parents will decide to take the child to undergo an otoplasty before starting school in order to eliminate any potential psychological discomfort that can occur as a result of the imperfection. Teenagers will ask their parents to take them to the plastic surgeon because they want to achieve a higher beauty standard or because of constant bullying.

Why do adults undergo otoplasty? There are people with prominent ears who have lived most of their lives in shame and embarrassment. When they realize the intervention is quite easy and entails few risks and is quite affordable, they jump on the opportunity. The patients for otoplasty are both men and women.

So what would be a good time to have ear defects corrected? Actually many people don’t know that the procedure is not recommended to be performed on children smaller than five years old when there is no other indication for surgery other than for purely aesthetic reasons. Otoplasty is a surgical procedure which entails certain risks. Moreover, up until this age the ears are still developing, so correcting them through surgery could affect certain growth areas.

Otoplasty can be performed at any time after the patient reaches five years of age. During this time, the ear has fully developed and has dimensions almost the same as an adult. Undergoing the procedure at this early age can solve the issue before the child goes to school. This way we can avoid the child undergoing emotional traumas caused by other children judging, calling names and bullying.

There are cases when the parents don’t even notice there is a problem with their child’s ears before he reports bullying. All children are beautiful for their parents, and not all parents believe that something as insignificant as prominent ears can cause problems. But our modern society has high standards when it comes to beauty. Children can be ruthless when it comes to all the details of another child’s anatomy. Generally speaking, children and teenagers can suffer more from a cosmetic defect, so from certain points of view, it is better if this defect is corrected from early childhood.

In most cases, adults are not as sensitive about prominent ears, but they still choose to undergo the procedure as they believe they will be more confident and have a boost of self-esteem. However, before undergoing the otoplasty intervention make sure to discuss the issue with the plastic surgeon at length. Ears are not made from play dough so don’t expect the plastic surgeon to be able to reshape and resize them completely. Ears that are too big or far from the head are an aesthetic issue, and they do not cause hearing problems.

It is also preferable to schedule the procedure during the colder months. After the otoplasty procedure, some patients experience a slight swelling of the ears and an increased sensitivity in the area. If you are having the procedure during the cold months, these can be covered with a beanie or ear muffs.

 

Is otoplasty a necessity?

The main reason to undergo the otoplasty intervention is people’s intolerance to physical imperfections. This can lead to bullying the child or adult confronted with big ears, hence inducing major emotional trauma. In terms of functionality and health, otoplasty plays no role so some might say the procedure is just a whim. But when considering the constant bullying and emotional trauma that these children undergo on a daily basis, the procedure seems like a mouthful of water after a long journey in the desert. Some children will become stronger and their character will be forged in steel. But there are others who won’t make it and their personal development will be greatly and negatively impacted by this. These children might start avoiding any sort of social situation and become more and more introverted. When this happens, surgery is the best option.

As is the case with any other surgical intervention, there is a risk associated with otoplasty, even if it is smaller compared to other plastic surgery procedures. When otoplasty is performed on children, the parents need to pay a special attention to the hygiene in the area and to make sure the child is taking the medication prescribed by the plastic surgeon.

 

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Conclusion

There are multiple points of view when it comes to performing otoplasty on children. Some say it is just parents giving in to the whims of their children. But the parents of the patients undergoing the procedure say it is just a way of avoiding constant emotional trauma that can be intense and last for a lifetime.

The procedure is often performed on children as young as five or six years old, just before they start school. Other times there are teenagers between 13-16 years old that request the procedure, but there are also adults who choose otoplasty even after spending most of their lives with prominent ears.

Depending on the level of ear malformation, the procedure can be performed as soon as the ears have finished their development. This way, we protect the child and offer him a way to start fresh.

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