Plastic surgery for children is a hotly debated topic. The news is ripe with stories of young men and women seeking procedures to enhance or augment their bodies, well before their adult years. In many cases, it is best to wait until a patient has finished growing before making significant changes to his or her body. However, there is one case in which early plastic surgery may be a great option.
For children with large or protruding ears, being bullied or harassed on the school yard can be part of the daily grind. Otoplasty surgery can help correct protruding or abnormally large ears, and it can be done as early as age 5 or 6, although this is not always recommended.
For many people, the idea of a cosmetic ear surgery being performed on a child so young would be shocking. Although, in the case of otoplasty, younger is better for a few reasons. By age 5 or 6, a person’s ears have grown to near their full, adult size. They are the ears they will live with for the rest of their lives. At this age, ear cartilage is more flexible. As we grow older, the cartilage in our ears becomes more firm. As the cartilage hardens, reshaping the ear becomes a more difficult procedure. While otoplasty surgery on adults is still possible and can yield excellent results, reshaping an ear while a child is still young is much easier.
Another reason for the advocacy of otoplasty early on is the confidence boost it can provide a child during vital years of development. A child who is confident at a younger age is more likely to be well adjusted socially and succeed academically. They feel less insecure, and more able to speak their minds. Confidence is one of the best gifts a parent can give a child.
While many people object to plastic surgery for children, most surgeons agree that otoplasty is an exception to the rule. When done for the right reasons, and with the physical and psychological well-being of the child in mind, an otoplasty procedure can do more than rebuild an ear – it can rebuild a life.