Are There Any Risks About Getting Otoplasty, and Can People Under the Age of 18 Get It?

Can ear correction affect hearing, and at what age can it be administered (I know there is no legal age set, but at what age would it be considered at?)

Doctor Answers 7

Ear repositioning (otoplasty) surgery: risks vs rewards?

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When ears are positioned further from the head than average (3 cm for example), they appear "larger" and to stick out to a point easily noticed by others. In children this may result in hurtful teasing ("Dumbo") and in adults, self-conscientiousness may result in hiding of the ears behind one's hair. The only permanent procedure is surgical repositioning of the ears.  While there are always risks, in a typical healthy child or adult, risks are not high. Certainly with general anesthesia in a child, there is always some inherent risks. Post-op problems such as infection, pain and bleeding are rare. Occasionally the cartilage may want to try to pull back toward the "old ear position" and occasionally a touch up suture may help. But all in all, otoplasty is a very rewarding procedure for patients who post-operatively do not have to live with the stigma of hiding their protruding ears!  

Louisville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Otoplasty risks

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Any operation will carry risks, including otoplasty.  Basically, they include bleeding, scars, infection, loss of tissue (skin, and even ear parts), recurrence of the ear prominence, and most commonly, asymmetry (~3mm difference between sides is usually accepatable).  If you have general anesthesia, those risks apply.

Children around 7 or 8 have them and so there is no reason your age should disqualify you.



Appropriate Age for Otoplasty

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Otoplasty is typically deferred until the age of 6 years old.  Studies have shown that actually by the age of 3, our ears are 85% of the adult size.  The age of 5-6 years old is used as the standard early ages for an otoplasty.  Otoplasty does not affect your hearing.

Ear Correction for Persons under 18

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   Ear correction will not affect hearing and the procedure can be performed at about age 6.  Find a board certified plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials with a high volume practice who does dozens of otoplasties each year.  Kenneth Hughes, MD ear pinning Los Angeles, CA

What are Risks of Otoplasty and at What Age is Surgery Appropriate?

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Otoplasty is a very safe procedure and can be performed on children at 5-6 years of age. It is a very gratifying procedure that can significantly improves ones appearance and self esteem. If you're under 18 you will need your parents consent to move forward with the procedure and you'll want their support during your recovery. The external ear actually doesn't contribute a whole lot to a person's hearing so you will likely not notice any difference in your hearing whatsoever after an otoplasty. I hope this information is helpful.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

Otoplasty Risks

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Since Otoplasty involves reshaping of the pinna (external ear), it is completely separate from middle ear and internal ear structures.  Hearing loss related to Otoplasty is not a common or even a rare complication.  Otoplasty is one of the few cosmetic procedures that can be considered prior to entering grade school because the size of the pinna is near adult size in childhood and because of the psychological effects of teasing associated with prominent ears.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 103 reviews

Otoplasty can be performed in children and adults

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Otoplasty or ear re-shaping can be safely done in children and adults. Most probably consider the ideal time to perform otoplasty to be 5 or 6 years at age before the child is teased at school and after the ear has grown closer to its adult size. Children are usually done in the operating room whereas adults can usually be done in the clinic. It is a safe and very rewarding procedure!

P. Daniel Ward, MD
Salt Lake City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.