Some adults or children have very large ears, a condition known as macrotia. In other cases, you or your child may have protruding ears on one or both sides of your face. Having prominent ears can impact self-confidence and can distract from other facial features. In some cases, you may consider otoplasty (ear surgery) to correct ear deformities or otherwise alter the appearance of your ears or those of your child. This cosmetic surgery is suited for both adults and children, depending on individual circumstances.
Otoplasty For Children
In some cases, children have external ear deformities due to birth defects or accidents. Correction for these types of conditions is considered reconstructive surgery. However, in other cases otoplasty for children is a cosmetic procedure. This is performed when a child’s ears protrude more than 2 cm from the side of the head, which is considered “prominent.”
An abnormally large outer ear (or pinna) can be a source of self-consciousness for children. In some cases, other children may bully your child for their ear shape or size. This can lead to changes in behavior or psychological distress. This is why many parents consider otoplasty to correct the issue.
Candidates For Ear Surgery
In general, your child needs to be 5 years of age or older in order to be a candidate for otoplasty. This is the age when ears have reached their full size and the cartilage and skin are no longer growing. It is also important that your child not have any life-threatening medical conditions, hearing loss due to the ear deformity, or chronic ear infections.
We will usually only perform plastic surgery on children who are able to voice their concerns and communicate if they are in pain. This reduces the risk of complications going unnoticed. Your child should also be able to follow instructions after the surgery.
It’s important that you also consider your child’s emotional readiness for surgery. If they express objections or discomfort about the procedure, you should talk with them and determine the source of their concerns. We will only consider otoplasty if your child is a good candidate both medically and psychologically, as this helps to ensure the best possible outcome.
Adult Ear Surgery
Although otoplasty is most common for children, many adults undergo the procedure. If your ear size or shape causes you discomfort or hinders your confidence, then this type of surgery might be a good fit. Many adults also seek out ear surgery later in life if they are dissatisfied with the results of surgery they received as children. The procedure is best for teens and adults when they have a positive outlook and realistic expectations. You should also be free of any life-threatening medical conditions.
How Does Otoplasty Work?
There are three main types of otoplasty, each of which has different results and a different procedure. All of these aim to create a more aesthetically-pleasing shape and size for your or your child’s ear. Adults are generally under intravenous sedation and local anesthesia for the procedure, whereas children will likely need to be under general anesthesia.
This type of ear surgery is less common. It treats a condition known as microtia where the pinna is either non-existent or very small.
Otopexy (Ear Pinning)
Otopexy is the surgical procedure for pinning back protruding ears. Your plastic surgeon will make incisions on the back of the ear and use surgical techniques to increase the antihelical fold, which is the crease on the inside of the rim of your ear. This works to create a more natural appearance that does not look artificially pinned back.
This is a surgical procedure for reducing the size of large ears. Your surgeon will remove cartilage and skin and reshape the remaining tissue. This can be done alone or along with otopexy to get the appearance you desire.
Will Insurance Cover Otoplasty?
Otoplasty is considered an elective surgery and as a result is not covered by most insurance plans. We offer various financing plans to help make the cost of your or your child’s surgery more manageable. We are happy to discuss these options with you and come up with a plan to pay for the procedure.
Choose Hess, Sandeen, And Lee For Otoplasty
Dr. Hess, Dr. Sandeen, and Dr. Lee are board-certified plastic surgeons and are experienced and skilled when it comes to facial plastic surgery. We will work with you to ensure the best possible results.