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Overcoming the stigma of protruding ears

By Utah Facial Plastics | Posted - May 21st, 2019 @ 9:52pm



Even in an enlightened 21st Century, bullying remains a problem among children and it often begins when physical features cause a child to look different. One common example is children who have protruding ears.

"Ears that stick out can be a focus for teasing, especially for children," explains Healthline. "This teasing can have a detrimental effect on self-esteem."

A study published by JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery found few physical features elicited a stronger negative response than prominent ears. "Protruding ears continue to be perceived as a negative physical attribute in many cultural settings, with affected children frequently being ridiculed and adolescents experiencing reduced self-esteem," the researchers stated.

Fortunately for children who have this condition, a simple procedure call "otoplasty" can remedy the problem. Here are a few benefits of this easy fix for protruding ears.

Confidence

Having low-self confidence as a child because of your body can make childhood a miserable experience. One of the greatest benefits of otoplasty is the change in self-confidence many children experience after the procedure.

Dr. Scott Thompson and Dr. Douglas Henstrom of Utah Facial Plastics see many children concerned about their protruding ears. Bullying, nicknames, and being made fun of are some things many parents of children with protruding ears are looking to prevent, and otoplasty is a great tool to do so.

"Following otoplasty surgery, patients report a greater sense of self-confidence and satisfaction with their overall appearance. Boys will often cut their hair after having kept it long to cover their prominent ears prior to surgery. And many girls are excited to finally be able to wear their hair pulled up with confidence."

Having such an emotional boost for a child can go a long way in his or her success at school and in friendships with other children.

A simple procedure and easy recovery

A concern many parents have when it comes to ear-pinning surgery is that it will be extremely painful and has a long recovery. Both assumptions are false. In describing the procedure and recovery process, Thompson of Utah Facial Plastics explains, "The procedure takes between one and two hours, depending upon the specific condition being addressed. It can be done under local anesthesia in the office setting, but for younger children or according to patient wishes, surgical anesthesia can be used. In any case, hospitalization is not required, recovery is quick, and pain control is easily achieved with mild analgesic medications."

Photo courtesy of Utah Facial Plastic

Recovery is simple, too. Soft dressings are placed over both ears following surgery and removed the following day. Most patients experience some mild discomfort for a day or two afterward, with the pain gone by the third day. Headbands are given to help hold the ears in place and to protect them while they completely heal. These will need to be worn for five days all day and then for an additional week only at night. After that, sutures are removed, Steri-Strips are used for a few days, then you're home free.

A small price to pay

Otoplasty doesn't need to be a stress for parents and kids. In fact, once the results are in, the procedure is but a small price to pay for your child's happiness.

In a study by the National Institute of Health, more than 100 children who had otoplasty performed were asked to report on their social experiences following surgery, and their experience of surgery. The results are encouraging: 97 percent reported an increase in happiness; 92 percent reported an increase in self-confidence; 79 percent noted improved social experience; 100 percent reported bullying reduced or stopped.

The conclusion of the study goes on to state, "Otoplasty is an effective procedure in alleviating psychosocial distress in the vast majority of children that undergo the operation."

If your child has protruding ears, reach out to Thompson and Henstrom at Utah Facial Plastics. With more than 10 years experience and thousands of procedures performed, the surgeons at Utah Facial Plastics are the No. 1 choice for your child to visit.

Utah Facial Plastics was recently honored as 2019 Best of SLC in the plastic surgeons category.

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