Ear Surgery for Children: An Anti Bullying Strategy?
If your child’s ears stick out and the thought of cosmetic surgery has crossed your mind, don’t feel embarrassed or uncomfortable about it. With so many children suffering the attacks of bullies these days, the federal government has an entire website devoted to bullying. Prominent ears can be a factor in your child being a target.
For this reason, ear surgery, or otoplasty, is an option many parents think over. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, nearly 27,000 adults and children underwent ear surgery in 2011.
But we know from talking with parents in New York, ear surgery can seem like a big step. If your child has large ears, or ears that stick out, you might feel conflicted about whether cosmetic ear surgery is the right choice. Here are some points to consider.
- Does your child feel uncomfortable about his ears? Whether he is being bullied or not, if he is unhappy about his ears the feeling is likely to persist. On the other hand, if you are the one who’s bothered, it’s best not to project your feelings on your child.
- Can your child understand that the most important qualities people have are internal and not related to looks? Can you work with her to learn that cosmetic surgery can change someone’s looks but not solve other issues?
- If your child is being bullied, are you working with him to learn coping strategies that rely on inner strengths and other key resources?
- If your child is very young, have you thought about whether she would be likely to choose otoplasty when she’s older (meaning it might make sense to go ahead now)? If you were in her shoes, would you opt for ear surgery for yourself?
- Is your son or daughter confident enough to feel optimistic about the surgery and mature enough to be patient with a short recovery process?
If you are leaning toward otoplasty for your child, you should know that the surgery is generally very safe and poses few risks. There’s not much discomfort involved in recovery, and aside from wearing a bandage around the head for a few days, there’s not much to worry about. We have performed otoplasty on New York patients as young as four years old.
Also know that if your child is being bullied, otoplasty is one step toward easing the pain—not a cure-all. As a parent, you need to research the situation, ally yourself with other parents and school personnel and actively teach your son or daughter how to handle it. Your child needs your love, strength and understanding—whether you choose ear surgery or not.
We invite you to come in and talk with us about cosmetic ear surgery in New York. We would be happy to share information and tell you all we have learned in working with kids—and adults—who are unhappy with the look of their ears. The final decisions are yours.
Call our Park Avenue office at 212-570-6080 for an appointment.
Photo by Frederic de Villamil, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.
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