If your child has a difference in ear shape or ear projection, you want to do everything you can to help them. The best way to fix these differences is through otoplasty, a surgery that reshapes the ears to a more normal size, shape and position. Fortunately, the doctors at Wellspring Pediatric Plastics specialize in this procedure and have performed it on hundreds of children.
Although otoplasty is a great solution, there are certain factors to consider before scheduling the procedure. Here’s what you need to know about age restrictions and when your child is eligible for otoplasty surgery.
The Ideal Time for Otoplasty
Our doctors recommend that parents wait until their child’s ears have completed most of their growth prior to scheduling the procedure. Our surgeons have the philosophy that correction ear differences prior to age 5-6 years old is ideal because it is prior to the age of self consciousness and can help avoid unnecessary bullying.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, performing otoplasty in children who are at least 5 years old generally increases the rate of success for a great result. This is for a number of reasons:
- The cartilage in their ear is firm enough to withstand surgery.
- The cartilage is also still pliable, meaning it can be shaped more easily.
- This is around the age kids start kindergarten. If they can have their ears reshaped before meeting their new classmates, it eliminates tough questions and reduces the chances of bullying.
Children younger than age 5 don’t usually have stable enough ear tissue for a successful procedure. Additionally, they might not be able to follow instructions or cooperate before and after the surgery.
Of course, children older than age 5 can still have otoplasty, and infact, our surgeons at Wellspring Craniofacial Group routinely perform otoplasty on adult patients as well.
Can Adults Have Otoplasty?
Although otoplasty is most common in children, adults can also benefit from the procedure. After the ears have stopped growing, there are no age restrictions.
In fact, a 2016 cosmetic surgery survey by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons looked at otoplasty rates across the country and found there were 23,709 total procedures among teenagers and adults. A majority of these ear surgeries were in adults rather than teenagers:
- 28 percent were done in people aged 13 to 19
- 30 percent were done in people aged 20 to 29
- 18 percent were done in people aged 30 to 39
- 15 percent were done in people aged 40 to 54
- 10 percent were done in people aged 55 and older
What About Ear Differences That are Obvious at Birth?
If an ear difference is noted at birth or in the first 2-3 weeks of life, then correction of those differences may not require surgery at all. Infant ear cartilage is so soft, that many differences in shape and contour can be molded into a normal position. These techniques are relatively new, so do not fret if you missed this early window.
Get Your Child the Otoplasty They Need
If your child needs otoplasty in the area, contact Wellspring Pediatric Plastics today for their expertise. Schedule a consultation with our doctors by calling us at (512) 600-2888. We’re eager to help you.