While most parents wouldn’t consider having their child undergo rhinoplasty or another facial plastic surgery procedure, ear shaping surgery, or otoplasty, is an exception, one that is commonly recommended for younger children.

If your child has ears that stick out more than usual or has ears that are disproportionately large, you might decide that ear surgery is the right choice for him or her.

Children are often ideal candidates for the surgery, as long as they meet certain requirements. The summer is often the ideal time for the procedure, as kids tend to be off from school and have time to recover without being under the scrutiny of their classmates. If your child has expressed an interest in the surgery or if you think it is the best option for him or her, there are some things to think about before scheduling the procedure.

Your Child’s Health

One of the most important things to consider when deciding whether or not ear surgery is right for your child this summer is his or her overall health. Generally, your child should be in good health before undergoing the surgery. Having certain conditions or being on certain medications can delay healing or make it more likely that he or she will suffer from complications after the procedure.

The condition of your child’s ears is also an important consideration when deciding if otoplasty is appropriate for your kid. Your child’s ears need to have finished growing, which typically happens by age 5. He or she shouldn’t have active ear infections at the time of the surgery. If your child suffers from frequent ear infections, you should discuss what to do with the surgeon. 

Your Child’s Outlook

Your child’s outlook about the surgery is as important as his or her overall health. Remember that you can’t coerce your child into surgery. The surgeon should explain the surgery to the child and gauge the reaction.

If your child reacts with fear or concern, this summer might not be the best time for the procedure. You might consider waiting until your child has matured a bit and is able to discuss the possibility of ear surgery without feelings of panic. In some cases, it might be ideal to wait until your child approaches you about the surgery.

Your Summer Schedule

Your summer plans also determine whether or not having your child undergo ear surgery this year is a good idea. A laid back summer without a lot of hustle and bustle is often the best for surgery. Your child will be able to relax and recover without feeling like he or she is missing out on anything.

But, if you have back-to-back family trips planned, if your child wants swimming lessons, or if he or she is going away to summer camp, it might be better to postpone the surgery until next summer or until your child’s winter break.

In most cases, children will go home the same day as their surgery. Some swelling and bruising is common in the first week or so after the surgery. While most kids can go back to regular activities after the first week, certain summertime activities will be restricted for about a month or two.

For example, children should stay out of the swimming pool for the first month after the surgery. They should also avoid any sports or other strenuous activities for a few months. It’s typically a good idea to postpone any activity that might involve bumping or hitting the ears until your child gets the go-ahead from the doctor.

Along with not missing any school days, your child won’t have to deal with having his or her classmates see the bandages. Since it takes a few months for the final results of the surgery to be visible, if your child has the surgery at the start of summer, he or she will be able to start the new year with little evidence that any surgery was performed over the break.

Finding the Right Doctor

To learn more about ear surgery for your child and to decide if this summer is the right time for it, contact Dr. Kyle Choe at the Choe Center for Facial Plastic Surgery, in Virginia Beach. Dr. Choe is happy to discuss the surgery with you and your child and help you make a decision that’s best for you and your family. Call 757.389.5850 for an appointment today.