Children teased about their ears sticking out often become self-conscious. Ear surgery, or otoplasty, performed by Columbia plastic surgeon Dr. John J. Seaberg not only helps reshape the ears so they are closer to the head, but it can also provide psychological benefits. Protruding ears aren't the only reason for otoplasty, though. Reconstructive ear surgery is also useful to correct congenital defects or to repair injured ears.
If you live in Jefferson City or mid-Missouri and are considering otoplasty for your child or yourself, please request a consultation online, or call Dr. Seaberg's office at (573) 443-5500 to schedule an appointment.
Read Patient Testimonials
Is My Child a Good Candidate for Ear Surgery?
If you are interested in otoplasty for your child's protruding ears, Dr. Seaberg advises to wait until he or she is at least 4 years old before having the procedure. By that time, a child's ears are almost fully developed, but the young tissue is more easily manipulated than in older children or adults. Cosmetic otoplasty isn't limited to young children. Surgery can improve ear size and shape in teens and adults, also, but the tissue is more rigid. Adults may choose to combine ear surgery with nose surgery to attain multiple improvements with one surgery.
Reasons for Considering Ear Surgery:
- Bring proportion to the face if the ears "stick out" too much
- Correct folded ear tips (lop ear)
- Reshape long or offset earlobes
- Enhance very small ears or other congenital defects
- Remedy an accidental injury, including the loss of an ear
A plastic surgeon with Dr. Seaberg's training and experience is able to avoid the "pinned ear" look that is sometimes the result of otoplasty. An incision hidden in the crease behind the ear is made to begin the surgery, allowing access to the cartilage and tissue that is reshaped, removed, or rearranged. Excess skin is removed to help bring the ears closer to the head. The incision is then sutured. The procedure typically takes between 1 and 2 hours. Ear surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia for children. Local anesthesia is used for older teens and adults.
Recuperating after any surgery is more complicated for children, who may not understand the importance of avoiding boisterous physical activity for at least a week. They are often uncomfortable because of the bandages and may try to touch their ears. It's vital for parents to explain that following postoperative instructions will help shorten the recovery process.
The First Step
It's important for children undergoing ear surgery to accompany their parents to the consultation with Dr. Seaberg. If your child is old enough, he or she may want to ask questions about the procedure, the operating room, or Dr. Seaberg himself. Dr. Seaberg's demeanor helps put children at ease and increases their comfort level. He will also answer your questions. Although otoplasty is typically an outpatient procedure, he will discuss with you the possibility of an overnight hospital stay for your child.