Ear protrusion and the otoplasty procedure
When I was in primary school, I was called ‘Dumbo’ and teased about my ears. They were big for my head and stuck out quite a bit, which meant I could never get away with the slicked back ponytail style that was all the rage. Lucky for me, name-calling and a bit of schoolyard teasing was all I had to endure.
But these days, thanks to the internet and social media, bullying is no longer restricted to school hours. Cyber bullying is a very real problem: kids can be teased and taunted at all hours of the day and night, and in very public forms.
As someone who was bullied about their ears, I considered having them pinned back. I would often look up the cost, the recovery time and the results of the procedure. I never went through with it, but my bullying would stop once I walked out of the school gates of an afternoon. The bullies eventually got bored in high school, and by that time, I was an expert in styling my hair without my ears showing.
If your child is being teased about their ears, I can tell you first-hand just how much it can affect their confidence – and make them incredibly self-conscious. And considering that well over half of young people don’t tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs*, it could be having more of an impact than you think.
Dr Shahram Shahidi, Facial Plastic & ENT Surgeon, Centre for Facial Cosmetic Surgery (Dr Shahidi), is an expert on children who suffer from ear protrusion conditions.
He recalls a 9-year-old male patient who underwent the otoplasty procedure, saying, “he was constantly being teased and bullied at school, but once he had his ears pinned back, his confidence was boosted to another level. He was so happy to have his hair short and he was like a different child. It’s amazing what a difference just a little bit of confidence makes.”
Dr Shahidi says he sees an equal number of male and female patients, and recommends undergoing the procedure before school starts to prevent bullying and physiological problems. By the age of five, the ears will have grown to approximately 80 per cent of their adult size.
Once the procedure is over, “most patients go home on the same day with a bandage around their head. The pain is usually mild and can be controlled with simple analgesic such as Panadol,” says Dr Shahidi
I can’t say whether I’d undergo the procedure if I had my time again, but it’s good to know it’s an option if my kids inherit my ear protrusion.
For more information head to www.drshaidi.com.
Do you or your kids have protruding ears? Have you ever considered an ostoplasty procedure?