A great majority of cosmetic surgeries are done after the puberty. The most essential exception to this is the cosmetic ear surgery for the treatment of ear deformities, also known as otoplasty. Contrary to the other organs, ears complete 90% of their development around the age of 5. Therefore we, plastic surgeons, can perform this surgery starting at that age. This situation can be object of derision and mockery especially in school-age children, causing serious psychological and social issues and affecting school success.
Commonly called bat ears, we evaluate this situation not as a disease but as a simple cosmetic defect. Due to the insufficient growth of ear auricle folds, the angle between ears and the head may be bigger than normal, causing the ears to appear bigger than they should be; despite the ear size being the same, difference of the cartilage shape causes the misconception. Protuberant ear condition has congenital, hereditary and genetic reasons.
Surgery should be considered when this condition and negative reactions of others cause embarrassment especially in school-aged children. If you feel your child has this kind of issue, you should first consider seeking help from a professional specialized in child psychology. If the child psychologist suggest surgery, plastic surgeons will provide the answers to your questions. Past the puberty, the patients’ desires alone will be sufficient for planning an operation.
It is important that the surgeon and family inform the child together about the operation. In a short, comprehensive manner, what is going to be done, how he/she will experience it and the results of the operation should be explained. This is necessary for a comfortable post-operative stage and to avoid fear.
Otoplasty surgeries are simple, easy, outpatient procedures.
The operation is performed under local or general anesthesia, depending on the situation of the patient. A small incision is made immediately behind the ear. Within 1-1.5 hours, ear cartilage is reshaped with permanent sutures through this incision, which will be closed with dissolving sutures. The scars will be easily concealed as they are immediately behind the ear. The patient will be discharged the same day. The bandages are taken out 2-3 days later and the patient can shower. Patients are encouraged to wear a tennis headband or hair band to protect the ears for 10 days following the surgery.
The surgeon’s experience is important in these operations. As a double-sided organ, it is necessary to ensure the ears’ symmetry and calculate their angle.
A successful otoplasty surgery greatly helps improving the patient’s mental health and well-being.