How to Prepare Your Child for Surgical Ear Reshaping
Surgical ear reshaping, or otoplasty, is one of the few plastic surgery procedures commonly recommended for children. There’s no magic age for ear reshaping, but Dr. Bresnick can do it as soon as the ears have fully formed, which typically happens at about the age of 5. Some parents choose to have the surgery done when their children are younger to protect them from teasing and bullying as they grow up. Other parents opt to have the procedure done later in childhood, often at the request of an older child or teenager who has become self-conscious about their ears.
As with any surgical procedure, you can help your child get through the experience with your loving support and caring communication. Here are some suggestions on how to prepare your child for surgical ear reshaping.
Present the Idea of Ear-Reshaping Surgery in a Positive Way
The purpose of ear-shaping surgery is to improve your child’s appearance and boost their self-confidence and self-esteem. So it’s vital that you present the idea of the surgery in an optimistic way. Avoid using negative words to describe your child’s natural ears. Instead, use upbeat language to explain what the surgery will do. You might say that it “will make your ears the same size,” or that it “will make it so you can wear your hair in different styles.”
Have Your Child Meet the Surgeon
The first step in any plastic surgery is a consultation with the surgeon. When a child is having plastic surgery, this is a three-way conversation — a chance to ask and answer questions. Let your child know Dr. Bresnick will ask questions and do an ear examination to decide if the surgery is a good idea. At this stage, it’s still just a possibility, not a settled matter.
Give your child a chance to ask the surgeon questions, too, even ones that may seem silly to you. Meeting and talking to Dr. Bresnick will reassure your child that you are dealing with a caring expert who is willing to listen and explain. Seeing the doctor and the facility also grounds the procedure in reality for your child. They now have a picture in their mind of who will do their surgery and where.
Explain to Your Child What Will Happen on the Day of the Procedure
Starting about a week or two before the procedure, explain to your child what will happen that day and in the days right after. Children do better with new experiences when they know what to expect. You don’t need to go into detail on the mechanics of the surgery. Instead, talk through the steps of the day — when you will get up, what your child can or can’t eat that morning, that they will take medicine to make them sleep through the surgery so they won’t feel anything, that when they wake up you will be with them, that their ears may feel sore after the surgery.
Be honest in everything you tell your child and be willing to answer any questions.
Prepare Your Child for Recovery
As you talk about what will happen with the procedure, prepare your child for the recovery period, too. Share the information that you get from the surgeon’s office in a language your child will understand.
Your child will probably have a few days off from school or away from other activities, and will need to rest more than usual to let the ears heal. They will have a special bandage on their ears at first, then will have a headband to wear for a few days. It will be essential that they not touch or pick at the area behind the ear where the incisions will be. They won’t be able to get their head wet in the bath or shower for a few days.
Together with your child, plan some restful activities for this time. It might be watching movies, reading, playing board games, or trying out a new toy.
Learn About Surgical Ear Replacement in Los Angeles
Dr. Stephen Bresnick in Encino, CA, is one of the most skilled, experienced, and highly rated plastic surgeons offering procedures in the Los Angeles area. Call us at (818) 981-3333 or contact us today to schedule a consultation.