Cosmetic Ear Surgery
If there is one thing that can make a young person grow up feeling self-conscious about their appearance, it is probably prominent ears. Long before a child cares about their appearance they can become the object of teasing and ridicule if they have funny looking ears. What might start out as innocent teasing can become a life-long stigma if a child is constantly dealing with labels such as “Bat Ears,” “Elf Ears,” “Radar,” or “Wing Nut.” This can be especially difficult for boys if the prevailing hairstyle is short. The long-term effects can be severe to a child’s social confidence and later, an adult’s self-image.
The ear is a complex, delicate structure and there are a wide spectrum of anomalies that can make the ear appear abnormal. Most abnormal looking ears can be corrected with Otoplasty. The most common problem with the ear is the “Prominent” or “Bat” ear. Classically this is two deformities wrapped up in one: 1) The ear stands out too far from the head, like a “wing nut”; and 2) the ear is missing an important fold, giving it a “bat-like” appearance. Therefore, most Otoplasties consist of two procedures - one to “pin back” the ear closer to the head and one to create the missing fold.
The surgery is done quite easily under local anesthetic in the older child or adult. In pre-school children, it is done under general anesthesia, often at the time of some other procedure such as ear tubes or tonsillectomy. The best time to do the procedure is before the child is ever subjected to teasing in grade school, or around age 5. However, it is never too late to correct funny or abnormal looking ears.
Will insurance cover the procedure for my child?
In rare cases, yes. Typically, no. Most insurance plans will classify the procedure as “cosmetic” and won’t cover it (even though plastic surgeons everywhere know the procedure is really “reconstructive” with important benefits to a child’s development). Some insurance plans DO allow for “cosmetic surgery” for children under age 18. There can be big differences from insurance plan to insurance plan and even from one claims representative to another. You should check with your own insurance plan on this. We would be happy to provide whatever supporting documentation they might require.
Where are the incisions made?
All necessary incisions are hidden behind the ear or in the folds of the ear so that there are no visible scars.
Is the surgery painful?
No. The procedure is done painlessly with just local anesthetic (except young children, who get general anesthesia). Post-operatively, pain medications are needed only for a day or two for most people.
What can I expect during the recovery?
See our Otoplasty Post-Op Instructions below.
How much time off from school or work should I allow for the recovery?
About a week, if you want to remain discreet about the surgery. By this time the head dressing can come off and any visible sutures can come out. For those who don’t choose to hide their surgery, you can return to school or work the next day, in most cases.
Are there risks?
Although there are risks with any surgical procedure, the risks are minimal with otoplasty. Many thousands of otoplasty operations are performed successfully each year without complication.
How much does the surgery cost?
This is variable since the final cost depends on the exact problem to be corrected and whether or not anesthesia is necessary. A consultation with Dr. Hendrick can result in a more accurate determination of the fees. A “typical” bilateral otoplasty done with local anesthesia in our office surgery suite will run about $3000. Limited “pin back” procedures can run less.
ArtPageR0 - Contact
200 South Fifth Street
Salina, KS 67401
Closed over the lunch hour