Plastic Surgery
Otoplasty: Real Consideration for Young Patients
Mar 8, 2014 - 4:07:58 PM

( - Otoplasty, called ear surgery by those unfamiliar with the medical terminology, is a unique facial plastic surgery procedure that is designed to permanently reshape the ears. Sutures and excision of cartilage help to create a more balanced appearance as the ears are set back closer to the head. Most often otoplasty is performed on ears that protrude or are asymmetric. The cosmetic ear pinning surgery can be performed at nearly any age, and it is not uncommon for parents to consider otoplasty for their young children.

Why Younger is Better

Pediatric otoplasty is performed on children between 4 and 12 years of age. At around 4 or 5 years old, the ears have finished growing, allowing surgery to be performed anytime after that point. In children the cartilage is more malleable and easier to work with. The flexibility of the tissue is one reason why many plastic surgeons prefer to perform the surgery on younger children when possible.

Emotional health is also another consideration when it comes to deciding whether a child should undergo ear surgery in Chicago. As unpleasant as it is, teasing is common among children. Siblings often find joy in antagonizing a brother or sister, despite the parents' disapproval of the behavior. Less controllable are the comments made by other children at school. Even well-intentioned adult relatives may use a nickname they intend as a sign of affection, but could be viewed by the child with large ears as an affront to the way they look.

Names like "Dumbo" can be hurtful and can cause lifelong self-conscious feelings for a child about their appearance. To nip the problem in the bud, parents can consult with a facial plastic surgeon, like Chicago otoplasty specialist Dr. George Moynihan, about how to improve the appearance of their child's overly noticeable ears. Doing so can head off years of self-esteem issues. Dr. Moynihan performs the procedure at Gold Coast Plastic Surgery in Chicago, Illinois, working with families to address their concerns. He understands what causes prominent ears and the best techniques to use based on each patient's individual outer-ear anatomy.

The Ideal Young Patient

Your cute and spritely 4-year-old may be at the right age for ear pinning surgery in Chicago, but that does not mean he or she is ready for surgery. For parents it is important that they not only take their child's future feelings into consideration, but also their current personality and behavioral development.

Otoplasty is a fairly simple procedure that is usually performed on an outpatient basis, but it is surgery nonetheless. The last thing you want for your child is to be in pain or have an infection develop. In order to get by with the few minor side effects, which include mild to moderate swelling, bruising, and tenderness, they must be able to follow directions. Otherwise, caring for the ears during recovery may be a whole lot harder than expected and complications can occur.

Children should be willing participants. They will need to feel comfortable being examined by the doctor and not be resistant to undergoing the procedure. After surgery, they will need to wear bandages and take pain medications. Excessive physical activity will need to be avoided for several weeks. There will also be individual instructions to follow. If your child is not able to cooperate with these restrictions or is opposed to the idea of surgery, then it may be best to wait until he or she is more mature.

Otoplasty Cost

Otoplasty, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, has an average surgeon fee of $3,099. The surgeon's fee does not include fees for the surgical suite, anesthesia, medication, or other related costs. Since the procedure is cosmetic and not medically necessary, most insurance companies will not contribute to paying for otoplasty. Fortunately, due to the abundance of financing options available, parents do not necessarily have to choose between their children's psychological wellness and dipping into the college savings.

Otoplasty cost in Chicago and other large cities may run higher than the national average. This is due to the fact that many of the country's leading facial plastic surgeons choose to maintain practices in these populous locations. A surgeon's experience is also a factor that impacts how much they charge.

Experience and credentials carry great weight for parents seeking a qualified surgeon to perform the procedure on their child. Make sure the physician has worked with young patients in the past and that your child is comfortable with the doctor.

About Dr. Moynihan

Dr. George Moynihan is a double board certified facial plastic surgeon with experience in pediatric otoplasty. Visit to see ear pinning before and after photos, read about the procedure and recovery, and to contact the practice. Dr. Moynihan also performs Chicago facelift, browlift, rhinoplasty, revision rhinoplasty, and other cosmetic surgery procedures. Call 312-988-9300 to contact Gold Coast Plastic Surgery.


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