The Surgeon Minute

With an Otoplasty, Say Goodbye to Dumbo Ears

With an Otoplasty, Say Goodbye to Dumbo Ears

Otoplasty, a surgical procedure to correct overly large or prominent ears, is on the rise according to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. The reason is simple: No one likes to be called Dumbo or Mickey Mouse ears. Not adult men or women and particularly not children. The ridicule can be damaging to their self esteem at a critical time in a child’s development. Otoplasty surgery is an easy, effective way to permanently reshape the ears so that they are more in balance with the rest of the face.

by Katherine Stuart
and Shaun Parson, MD

Overly Large Ears May Lead to Embarrassment and Shame

Although Dumbo was teased about his ears, they did allow him to fly. Sadly, for most kids with overly large or prominent ears, there is just ridicule without any payoff. And it can be devastating. Something Dr. Shaun Parson, MD  of Scottsdale, Arizona has seen first hand. “We have children with very prominent ears who are made fun of, who are very self conscious. They tend to wear their hair down over their ears. They just don’t like the way they look.”  But otoplasty surgery can change all of that. Since our ears are fully developed by the time we are 8, Dr. Parson will typically wait until then to operate. However, otoplasty can also be performed on adults. Many brides request the surgery before their big day and it’s currently one of the top 10 most requested surgeries for men.

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While otoplasty surgery is most commonly performed to correct prominent or protruding ears, it can also fix ear asymmetry, deformed ears, reconstruct an external ear missing at birth and repair an ear damaged by traumatic injury or disease. In an easy two hour procedure, the surgeon reshapes the ear using simple suturing techniques. Non-removable, internal sutures are placed on the back of the ear or hidden within the folds of the ear in the front. Since otoplasty is considered a reconstructive as opposed to a cosmetic procedure, it is often even covered by health insurance.

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The results, in terms of self esteem, are remarkable. According to Dr. Parson, children who are getting otoplasty are often looking down, embarrassed and self conscious, in their pre-op photos. While after surgery, “they’re almost glowing. They’re so happy to go back out and not be teased anymore.” It can literally be a life changing procedure. “Otoplasty is really one of the reasons that I became a plastic surgeon. I’m able to change the way they feel about themselves and they can go back out in the world and really have their confidence again.”

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