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How to Prepare Your Child for Otoplasty

As a parent, you no-doubt remember many of your child’s firsts:  the first time you left them with a baby sitter, the first time they got on the school bus, their first sleep-over. Mostly, these life events come and go without a problem, thanks to a little preparation. Likewise, when you take the time to prepare your child, otoplasty (aka ear reduction surgery) can be one of their many milestones on their way to adulthood.

Sure, the thought of surgery can be frightening to children and their parents. Otoplasty doesn’t have to be. If you take the time to educate your child, you both can have a smooth experience through this transformative process.

As a parent, your child’s attitude towards their surgery starts with you.  Despite what your friends and family might say, you are the ultimate authority.  As such, you must arm yourself with enough information to make a confident decision. And then, you can pass that information, and your confidence, to your child.

In this post, we’ll review the procedure and discuss some of the critical steps along the way, including how to prepare your child for the surgery and recovery. And, you’ll learn why it’s critical for your child to meet the surgeon beforehand.

Why You’ve Chosen Otoplasty

Otoplasty is a surgery designed to reduce the size or protrusion of the ears through strategically-placed incisions. It’s an outpatient, one-day procedure performed under local or general anesthesia. The ideal candidates are children around the age of five or six – a time when the body’s cartilage heals quickly.  Older children and adults, however, can successfully receive the surgery as well.  Recovery usually lasts one to two weeks.

In teens and younger kids, anticipated or actual bullying or teasing is one of the most common reasons parents consider otoplasty for their children.  We know that bullying can have a life-long impact on the social and emotional well-being of a person, and the impacts of struggling socially can have serious repercussions.  These can range from lowered self-esteem and poor performance at school or work to – at the extreme – criminal behavior.

And as with any issue involving children, bullying stirs up a wide range of strong emotions and opinions in adults.  Some adults close to you will fully support and even commend you for choosing otoplasty.  Others may have views that differ.  Either way, know that you have the ultimate responsibility and authority to decide what is best for your child.

Even without hearing a single negative remark, your son or daughter will eventually notice that they have large or overly protruding ears.  They may purposely choose hairstyles that cover their ears or avoid hats that make them look more prominent.  In doing so, they may even experience limitations in activities they wish to pursue.

No matter your reason for choosing otoplasty, trust your decision and hold firm to it.  It will help you present the details of surgery and recovery with assuredness, which will ultimately increase your child’s comfort level, too.

Meet Your Doctor One-on-one

If possible, arrange for a one-on-one consultation without your child and, once you are certain that an otoplasty is the right decision, one with all three of you. Both meetings can take place in the same visit or separately, depending on what’s customary for your doctor and where you are in the decision-making process.

In your one-on-one visit, be sure to review your child’s physical preparation for surgery, what happens in detail the day of, as well as recovery.  Ask for any supporting materials like timelines and surgery check-lists.  And don’t hold back any questions you may have, however silly you think they sound.

Chances are, if you’re wondering about something, your child will be, too.  If he or she is elementary age or older, they’ll want to know what’s going to happen and how.  If your child is younger, they’ll probably be most worried about separation from you, so you’ll want to know the exact sequence of events.

As for recovery, be sure to ask what medicines your doctor recommends to manage any initial discomfort. Your child will also need to wear a protective headband during that first week or so after surgery.  Explore options for the recovery period, especially if you know your child is image-conscious.    

Have Your Child Meet Your Doctor and Staff

Meeting your physician can make a lasting and positive impression on your child.  A doctor who communicates well and relates to children can connect and gain your child’s trust on a level different than your own.

When your child sees that you trust your physician, they’re more likely to do the same. Allow your doctor to explain otoplasty. Be sure to clarify anything your child doesn’t understand.  School-age kids and teens will appreciate details.  Younger children are better with a simple explanation.

And your doctor isn’t the only person in the office your child can learn from. It’s also good for them to meet the people they’ll see on surgery day.  Especially for younger children, a familiar face can go a long way to provide comfort during times of uncertainty.  Even disinterested teenagers may secretly appreciate recognizing people on their otoplasty day.

If you ask, the office staff may have pictures of children before and after their surgery. Along with each photo, they may have stories of each particular child and how they felt about otoplasty in the long term.

And don’t forget your child’s impression of the office itself. Today’s modern, sophisticated plastic surgery clinics are full of lasers, x-rays, and other high tech machines. You might just be planting the seed for their interest in medicine later in life.

The Day of Surgery

To best prepare your child for surgery, make sure you keep your explanations matched to their level of interest and understanding.  Avoid medical terms. They’ll only confuse and distract them.  If your description is simple, the surgery will sound simple.

To start, tell your child the day of surgery may start with them skipping breakfast so they can take the medicine that will be needed. When you both arrive at your doctor’s office,  your child will change into a unique gown for the operation.  It may feel cold, but they will give you a bed to lay in and a blanket.

The nurses at the clinic will then have them breathe out a mask with a balloon on it that will contain air with medicine in it.  This medicine will make them fall asleep.

When they wake up, they’ll have bandages on their head, and they’ll feel a little sleepy.  The surgery will be over, and they will not have felt any of it. You’ll also be there by their side when they wake up.

Then after a while, they’ll change back into their regular clothes and go back home with you.  As medicine from surgery starts to wear off, they may feel a little sore.  Let them know there will be medicine they can take to help, and many other children have felt the same way before.

That night and for the next week, they’ll need to sleep in a chair to keep their head up.  The next day, the two of you will return to the doctors, and he or she will remove the bandages on their head.

The Week After – Who and Where

Recovery is where you, as a parent, must take over. Planning for surgery but not recovery is like planting a flower and not watering it. Don’t miss this golden opportunity to make your child even more comfortable with the process. Let’s look at what happens after surgery how you can prepare for it.

After the bandages are removed, your child will need to start wearing a protective headband.  You may also have to return within a few days to have sutures removed. Although they don’t need a detailed timeline, let your child know it’s normal to visit the doctor a few times after the operation.

They’ll need to take off at least a week from school and avoid anything like sports or playing outside.  Make sure they know their new ears are healing, so their body must rest.

Who will help them through this period of rest and healing? That’s a question you, as a parent, need to answer in advance.  Will you need to take off work, or will your spouse?  Will you require the help of a relative?  Before you discuss recovery with your child, it’s helpful to have these questions answered.

In addition to knowing who they’ll be with, it’s important to know where. At your house?  At grandmas?  You’ll want a comfortable and familiar environment for you child to make their recovery as pleasant as possible.

The Week After – What to Do

Beyond determining where they’ll recover, you want to decide what they’ll do to pass the time. As you know, children tend to focus on whatever bothers them in moments of boredom. Engaging but non-strenuous activities can be the best way to keep their mind off a couple of sore ears.

Don’t forget that you know your daughter or son better than anyone else – their likes and dislikes, hobbies, etc.  Use this knowledge to design the most fun recovery time possible. Does your child like movies?  Rent some they haven’t seen or check out what’s on Disney+ or Netflix.  Do they prefer books?  Pick up something that will have reading while their ears are healing.

Of course, don’t forget that they can spend time with you or your spouse as well.  The two of you could play a board game, take a trip to the store, go out to lunch, or anything else as long as it’s low-stress and doesn’t have them moving around too much.  Whatever activities you choose for their recovery period, they can be a way of making your child feel comfortable and even look forward to their healing period.

Thoughts About Second Thoughts

In the days leading up to surgery, if your child seems uneasy, talk with them about their concerns.  They may have questions that were left unanswered.  And if you can’t address them yourself, call your doctor.

Make sure your child knows that otoplasty is about choosing to change your appearance – not about fixing something or someone that’s broken. It’s about how you feel about your own body, not about someone else’s opinion.

Also, make sure they know they’re not having otoplasty because they’ve done something wrong or because you think they’re unattractive. This mistaken belief might come from thinking of the operation as painful or severe and, therefore, a punishment.

Finally, tell them that know that operations on someone’s body are personal and that it should remain a family secret until after they return to school.  Even the most well-meaning classmates can spread misinformation that can be hurtful.

Next Steps

To learn more about otoplasty today, contact Dr. Sajjadian at 949-515-0550 in his Newport Beach, CA office today!

How to Prepare Your Child So Cosmetic Ear Surgery Goes Smoothly

Ear surgery is one of the few cosmetic procedures that are commonly performed on children. That’s because ears that are overly large, misshapen, or stick out noticeably can make a child the object of teasing, which can damage a child’s self-esteem. The surgery is typically done after a child’s ears have fully formed, at age 5 or older. That means your child may still be quite young when you schedule the procedure. How should you prepare your child so that the surgery goes smoothly?

Describe the Procedure in a Positive Way

The goal of cosmetic ear surgery is to improve your child’s appearance and by doing that to improve their self-esteem and self-image. When talking about the procedure with your child, be careful not to suggest that there is anything wrong with their appearance by using negative terms to describe their ears as they are now. Instead, talk about how the surgery will change your child’s ears in a positive way, using matter-of-fact, simple language. For example, you might say: “Dr. Sajjadian is going to make your ears more even.” Or: “Dr. Sajjadian is going to make your ears the same size.”

Of course, if your child is older or has experienced teasing because of his or her ears, you can adjust your explanation to describe in more detail how the surgery will change how the ears look for the better. The point is to help your child feel good about themselves now and to reassure them that the surgery will only improve their looks. Remember that the goal of cosmetic ear surgery is typically to make the ears appear more normal and less noticeable, rather than to make them exceptionally attractive.

Explain What Will Happen On the Day of the Surgery

Children do best with medical procedures when they know what to expect. Talk through the scheduled events of the day ahead of time, starting with what will happen when your child gets up in the morning. Dr. Sajjadian will explain the specifics to you, but you might describe what to expect on the day of a typical procedure like this:

  • You won’t have breakfast that morning.
  • We will take you to Dr. Sajjadian’s office (or possibly the hospital) and be with you while you meet with the doctor.
  • A nurse will have you change into a hospital gown when it’s time for the procedure.
  • You will get a mask to wear with a balloon to blow up, which will make you sleepy.
  • When you’re in a deep sleep, Dr. Sajjadian will do the surgery. You’ll be so sound asleep that you won’t feel anything.
  • We’ll be there the whole time, and will be with you when you wake up after the surgery.
  • You’ll have a bandage over your ears. It might hurt a little, but you’ll be able to take medicine for that.
  • When you’re completely awake, we’ll take you home. You’ll come home that same day.

Explain What Your Child Can Expect In the Days After the Surgery

Your child will need to take special care of the ears while they are healing. Let your child know ahead of time that he or she will wear a headband for a few days once the bandages come off, and won’t be able to take a shower during that time. Your child will need to take a break from sports, too, until the ears have healed.

Answer All of Your Child’s Questions Honestly

Parents are often surprised by what children worry about — and by what doesn’t concern them. Don’t assume you know what your child is thinking about the surgery. It might be that they will wake up in the middle of the procedure, or that you won’t be there with them. Or your child may not be worried at all. Encourage your child to ask questions about the procedure and do your best to answer honestly. If you don’t know the answer to a question, promise to find out. Then follow through by asking Dr. Sajjadian’s office and sharing what you learn.

Dr. Sajjadian is a triple-board certified plastic surgeon in Newport Beach, CA. His practice focuses on compassionate patient care and attention to detail. He has won numerous awards for excellence, both from his patients and from his professional peers.

What Is Recovery Like After Cosmetic Ear Surgery?

You hate your ears and it is time for a change, but in between you and your new look is surgery and recovery. What is recovery like? Will you need time off from work? How can you maximize your otoplasty recovery experience? This guide will help you prepare for recovery after your otoplasty procedure with Dr. Ali Sajjadian.

In 2018 alone, over 20,000 Americans chose to undergo cosmetic ear surgery, also known as otoplasty. These patients included adults and children. Otoplasty is commonly performed on patients under the age of 18. If you or your child are considering improving the appearance of your ears, it is essential to fully understand the surgical and recovery processes before making your decision.

Parents, in particular, are often concerned about what to expect from otoplasty; especially when it comes to understanding the pain levels and required downtime your child may experience. The good news is that most of Dr. Sajjadian’s patients find the recovery process manageable and the results well worth the effort.

Rest assured, you’re in good hands. Dr. Sajjadian has extensive expertise in this delicate procedure. As one of the few triple board-certified plastic surgeons in California, he is uniquely qualified to ensure your best results. Across the board, our patients report high levels of satisfaction with both their experience and their results. At our Newport Beach offices, we understand that choosing cosmetic ear surgery often comes after a lifetime of anxiety and even embarrassment over the appearance of your ears.

Dr. Sajjadian takes particular care to ensure children and adults alike feel confident in the boardroom, on the playground, or wherever life may take them.

Below, we’ve compiled all the necessary information to understand the ins-and-outs of otoplasty recovery. We will walk you through the process step by step. From the moment the surgery ends through the completion of the recovery process, this guide will help you navigate the healing process.
We’ve also included some tips and tricks to make your recovery as painless and easy as possible.

Read on to learn more, and if you have any questions or would like personalized answers, feel free to call our Newport Beach plastic surgery office at 949-515-0550.

What Is Otoplasty (Cosmetic Ear Surgery)?

Otoplasty is a cosmetic procedure that improves the appearance of the ear. It is safe and very effective, with life-long results. Otoplasty can address many cosmetic ear concerns including:

  • Prominent ears
  • Ears that stick out
  • Damage from trauma including cauliflower ear
  • Elfin ear
  • Congenital malformations
  • Lop ear
  • Macrotia
  • Microtia

Otoplasty corrects the appearance of the ear from all angles including the front, rear and side perspectives. Our goal is to create an ear that is aesthetically pleasing and that functions properly.

Prominent ears are often associated with psychological trauma, teasing, and anxiety. Patients consistently say that after otoplasty, they feel better about their appearance and have improved self-esteem.

Recovery

Recovery after otoplasty is broken into several phases. We’ll share some tips for each phase below, but remember, we’re always available if you have questions or concerns. Helping you to have a successful recovery is our job.

Immediately After Surgery

After surgery, one of our nurses will take you from the operating room to a comfortable recovery room at our Newport Beach, CA, offices. Patients can go home the same day as surgery. However, we will monitor you briefly while you fully recover from anesthesia.

Generally, patients spend a few hours with us before they are ready to head home. You will need a friend or family member to pick you up from the surgical facility and drive you home. For the first night, they should stay with you in case you need some help.

Arriving at Home

Once you arrive at home from the surgical facility, we recommend you head to bed and get some much-needed rest. Be sure to elevate your head with two or three pillows. Keeping the head elevated helps to minimize swelling.

We recommend eating something once you have fully recovered from anesthesia. Food helps to alleviate some of the side effects associated with prescription pain medications. Though you may be quite hungry right after surgery, don’t overdo it. Take your time, listen to your body, and don’t push yourself.

Some nausea is common, but if it doesn’t resolve quickly, let us know. A healthy diet and ample rest both aid the healing process and speed up recovery.

Dr. Sajjadian will often prescribe post-surgery antibiotics. If you receive a prescription for antibiotics, it is imperative to finish the full course of medication. To ease postoperative pain, you may receive a prescription for pain medication. When using opiate medications, do not drive.

If other medications are needed, Dr. Sajjadian will let you know and will provide detailed information about how to properly use the medication. Make sure we know about all medications you’re using, including over-the-counter remedies, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

If you have any questions after your surgery or experience any unexpected side effects, let us know.

The First Few Days After Surgery

A compressive bandage is typically placed over the ears after surgery. The bandage holds the ears in the appropriate position for healing, so it is important not to remove your dressing.

Usually, Dr. Sajjadian will check the ears during a follow-up appointment the day after your surgery in our offices. If you experience severe or sharp pains on only one side, please call and let us know.

Unless instructed otherwise by Dr. Sajjadian, your bandages should stay on for one full week. After this period, you will be asked to return to the office and have your sutures removed.

Generally, we will recommend you wear an elastic band—known as an Ear Band-It—at night for the next six weeks. If possible, wearing the band during the day will help ease discomfort and ensure proper healing.

You should avoid facial tanning for the next six months post-surgery. If you need to be in the sun, please wear a 15-SPF or higher sunscreen. Ask Dr. Sajjadian about when you can resume wearing makeup, glasses, and earrings.

We’ll provide detailed information about cleaning and caring for your incisions. This process is simple and doesn’t require much time or effort.

After your bandages have been removed, you may wash your hair and face as usual with gentle soap and shampoo (ideally unscented). If possible, avoid any excessive scrubbing near your ears.

As pool, ocean, and lake water can harbor bacteria, we ask patients to avoid swimming for several weeks. Showering or bathing is fine.

Some numbness, itching, swelling, or discoloration are normal and generally go away on their own.

We provide detailed recovery instructions, carefully developed by Dr. Sajjadian to ensure the best possible recovery. Following Dr. Sajjadian’s instructions is the key to success after your surgery. Attending follow-up visits as planned allows us to best guide you through the healing process and towards your desired results. Plan on several follow up visits throughout your recovery.

Tips to Help Healing

  • Avoid subjecting the surgical incisions to excessive force, sunlight, abrasions, or vigorous motion while they heal. This is especially important to keep in mind for young children, who should avoid play or overexertion until the ears are healed.
  • Keep the head cool throughout the recovery period, especially if bandages are being worn – avoid any areas of extreme heat as well as using hot blow dryers.
  • Itching near or at the incision lines is very common. Usually, this is a sign of healing and that the nerves are regenerating. Do you best to avoid scratching the incisions. This prevents unnecessary damage or increased scarring.
  • If any discharge, redness, or heat accompany itchiness, please contact us—as this may be the signs of a treatable infection.
    Don’t wash your hair with shampoo for up to one-week post-surgery.
  • Keep your head elevated as much as possible, especially when sleeping. As mentioned above, one or two pillows to prop up your head is usually sufficient. When awake, try not to bend over as this can increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Some swelling is normal and usually lasts for one to two months. Residual swelling may last up to six months. Don’t stress about this, and if you have any concerns, call our Newport Beach office.
  • Avoid sleeping on your side throughout recovery.
  • Take your prescribed medication as directed.
  • Apply antibiotic ointment as directed by Dr. Sajjadian to the incision area; this helps scars heal.
  • Have patience and allow yourself the necessary time to rest while you recover.
  • Have realistic expectations and understand that results take time to show, and the appearance of your ears will change gradually.
  • Discharge coming out of your ear is normal, especially during the first week after surgery. A small amount of fluid drainage from the ears is common. This discharge may be dark, thick, or tinged red. If this happens, use a Q-tip or cotton swab soaked in hydrogen peroxide to clean the outer part of the ear. Do not clean the inner ear canal. If the fluid is excessive, contact us.
  • Avoid sun exposure and extreme temperatures for a month or two. Your ears will be numb for the first few weeks. As such, you may not feel the damage of extreme temperatures. If you choose to use ice packs, do so intermittently throughout the day, usually for no more than 20 minutes at a time.

Complications

Contact Dr. Sajjadian as soon as possible if you experience any complications. Contact us immediately if you have:

  • A fever higher than 101.5 degrees F, which persists despite increasing fluid intake and acetaminophen (Tylenol).
  • Sharp or severe pain on one side of your head.
  • Increased redness or swelling over time.
  • Your dressing shifting significantly or falling off.
  • Changes in ear shape after removing bandaging.

Ear Surgery FAQ

What Is the Recovery Timeline?

Recovery timelines for ear surgery vary from patient to patient. Here are some common milestones:

  • Return home the same day as your surgery
  • For the first one or two days, there will be some aching and throbbing
  • After several days bandages will be removed, and adults can return to work. Stitches will be removed or may be self-dissolving.
  • After approximately one week, patients can resume normal activities, and children can return to school.
  • For several weeks an ear-supporting headband should be worn
  • Full otoplasty recovery takes approximately six weeks.

What Are the Risks of Ear Surgery?

Dr. Sajjadian will perform your otoplasty with utmost dedication to your safety, and care to ensure you obtain the optimal results. We’ll talk more about any specific risks you may experience during your consultation. Dr. Sajjadian is highly experienced at otoplasty, and his patients report excellent outcomes and high levels of satisfaction with their results.

Schedule a Consultation at Our Newport Beach, CA Office Today

Otoplasty is a popular, safe, and clinically proven option to correct and improve the appearance of the ears. Dr. Sajjadian is an experienced plastic surgeon who can help you if you’re concerned about the appearance of your ears. Whether you are a parent of a child who is being bullied or someone who has been struggling with anxiety over your ears for your entire life, let us help you find freedom from prominent ears.

If you are ready to take the next step or have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to call our Newport Beach, CA offices at 949-515-0550 or Dr. Sajjadian directly online here. We look forward to creating a treatment plan together and helping you feel confident with your appearance.