Q. My son was born with floppy, big ears that stick out. He is now 6 years old and is about to enter first grade. No one has been bothering him about his ears but, I am sure that will not be the case once hes in school. What do you recommend for him and is there any surgery that can help him?
The good news is that there is an operation to improve your sons predicament. The bad news is that it is surgery, although a very satisfying one! Surgery to correct ears that stick out is very common and is often related to the hair style of the times. When the style is long, we see fewer patients who need otoplasty; when the hair style is short ,we see a run on this type of surgery. Surgery can usually be done when the patient is 6 to 8 (about the time kids become mean!). At this time the ears have gotten a chance to grow to a normal size and your son will not have to withstand the abuse of his peers. The surgery is designed to accomplish two objectives: reduce the angle of the ears and reshape the helix (the normal fold) so that the new ears have a natural fold. This is performed as an outpatient procedure and may be done either with sedation or general anesthesia, depending on the maturity level of your son. The surgery takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours to complete. Hell need to wear a band for a few days to protect his ears and then he will wear a sweat band for approximately two weeks at night only. He may return to school after one week and resume all normal activities after four weeks. This is my post operative schedule, check with your own physician to determine what he or she wants you to do.
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