A pediatric otoplasty is a surgical procedure offered by Dr. Stanislaw that can change the position, shape, and size of a child’s ear. The most common reason for performing an otoplasty is when the ear sticks out too far from the head, giving the ear the appearance of being too large. In this situation, an otoplasty restructures the ear so it is closer to the head, creating the appearance of a smaller ear. An otoplasty can be performed on just one ear if only one ear sticks out, or both ears if both ears stick out.
Children who have one or both ears that stick out, usually undergo an otoplasty as an outpatient, in the hospital under general anesthesia. Children 13 years and older will have the option to undergo the procedure with local anesthesia. This will be determined during the initial consultation with Dr. Stanislaw.
The normal position of an ear is 15 to 17 millimeters from the outer edge of the ear to the scalp immediately behind the ear. If an ear sticks out further than 17mm from the scalp, an otoplasty would be recommended. If you or your child is concerned about the position, size, or shape of their ears, you might consider a consultation to discuss an otoplasty procedure. Children must be at least five years old to be considered for treatment. There are two main reasons why an otoplasty is performed after a child is 5-years old: The first reason is that at this age the child’s ear has nearly reached its adult size. The second reason is that at 5 years old (the beginning of school) the child is developing a sense of body identity and will start to recognize that their ear or ears look different from their peers.
The incision for an otoplasty is placed in the crease right behind the ear. The incision usually heals very well and blends in seamlessly within the natural crease that occurs behind the ear.
Because the incision for an otoplasty is in the crease behind the ear, the sutures cannot be seen after the surgery. The sutures are removed one week after the surgery. Even though the incision is in the crease behind the ear, there is still bruising on the front side of the ear. This bruising can be present for 1 to 2 weeks.
A ski band will be worn at night while the patient sleeps for one month after treatment. Patients can wash their hair in a shower the next day. Swimming should be avoided for one month after the procedure. An otoplasty provides a lifelong change to the appearance of a patient’s ear or ears.
It is important to schedule your child’s procedure when they will have time off from school to recover. Patients typically have their procedure over summer vacation. Therefore, you should schedule a consultation for late winter or early spring to guarantee your spot over the summer if they are a candidate.