While the protruding ears of Disney characters Dumbo and Mickey Mouse may be noticeably cute features, the same admiration is not granted among children in real life, as it is in a cartoon. It is an unfortunate fact that children with ears that visibly stick out are often teased and ridiculed by insensitive peers at school, which can be devastating for a child’s self-esteem and psychological well-being. Unlike their parents with the same aberration, kids try to hide their ears behind long hair. Yet unlike twenty, or thirty years ago, short hairstyles are more en vogue for children today. Even with long hair, children and adults are consciously aware that their ears stand out when doing everyday activities like swimming, or riding their bike, which sadly affects their confidence to participate in everyday activities.
Children and adults alike have endured years of unnecessary and cruel remarks about the appearance of their ears. We can now change the size, position or configuration of protruding ears as early as five or six years old to eliminate all insensitive remarks that plague both the young and old.
The Otoplasty procedure consists of incisions made on the back of each ear, so that any small scars that result from the incisions will not be seen. Portions of cartilage, which is the direct cause of protruding ears, are then removed. The remainder of the ear is molded as necessary to achieve the desired contour. Sutures are often placed in the cartilage under the skin to maintain the proper shape. Following the surgery, bandages are worn for three to four days. An elastic headband is also worn for several weeks at bedtime to avoid any trauma to the ears. The procedure in no way affects the patient’s ability to hear.
Ears are among the most noticeable of facial features. Otoplasty puts an end to a child’s daily battle of camouflaging their insecurities with long hair or hats.