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Ear Surgery for Kids: What You Need to Know


In children with large, prominent ears, Dr. Charles Thorne can create a natural-looking appearance by performing an otoplasty, or ear reshaping surgery. At our practice in New York, NY, Dr. Thorne can perform an ear pinning procedure to pull the ears closer to the head for a more aesthetically pleasing result. In general, Dr. Thorne recommends ear surgery for kids no earlier than age four. By this age, most children have reached at least 80 percent of their adult ear size and have a good indication of how their ears will look in adulthood. Dr. Thorne is an expert in the field of otoplasty and has experience performing a variety of types of ear surgery on children. 

A young boy with protruding ears
Dr. Thorne can perform ear surgery for kids after they have reached the age of four. 

Is My Child a Candidate for Ear Surgery?

In general, children can undergo otoplasty once they reach age four. At this point, the cartilage is firm enough to support the placement of sutures. Performing ear surgery at a young age is beneficial because the cartilage is more pliable, making it easier to obtain the desired results. Ear surgery is not recommended for children who wrestle or participate in another similarly violent sport.

This procedure can correct issues, such as:

  • Protruding ears
  • Overly large ears
  • Asymmetrical ears
  • Deformities due to injury or birth defect

While Dr. Thorne can perform the surgery on four-year-olds, many parents prefer to wait until their child can voice their own opinion about undergoing otoplasty, typically around the age of seven. In some rare cases, Dr. Thorne can perform otoplasty on patients as young as two. However, the cartilage is especially delicate at this age and can tear, causing more substantial problems.

Benefits of Otoplasty

Performing ear pinning surgery on young patients often provides significant psychological benefits. Children with large ears may feel self-conscious. They may be teased at school by their peers. Parents sometimes notice children covering their ears with their hair, hoping to prevent people from seeing them. Otoplasty is a safe and effective way to improve your child’s self-confidence if abnormal ear shape or size is the problem. 

The Otoplasty Procedure

During ear surgery, Dr. Thorne makes a small incision in a hidden area of the ear, such as under the rim or deep behind the ear. The careful placement of the incision minimizes the possibility of scarring being visible. Then, he gently repositions or reshapes the ear before closing the incision with sutures. 

With careful positioning techniques, Dr. Thorne can help ensure your child’s ears look natural and aesthetically pleasing.

With children, Dr. Thorne is careful not to overcorrect their ears. As we age, our cartilage hardens, which can make ear pinning more difficult in adults. For an adult patient with stiff cartilage, Dr. Thorne will pull the ears further back, expecting the sutures to move slightly during the healing process. In contrast, young children have very soft cartilage, meaning an overcorrection can cause the ear to look strange after it heals. With careful positioning techniques, Dr. Thorne can help ensure your child’s ears look natural and aesthetically pleasing. 

During Your Child’s Recovery

Most patients are able to return to their normal lives within two to three weeks. Dr. Thorne recommends children wait at least three weeks before playing any contact sport.

Complications are extremely rare for otoplasty patients. However, if you notice one of your child’s ears is more swollen, painful, or bruised than the other, contact Dr. Thorne as this may be a sign of a hematoma. You can also contact the doctor if there is ever something that bothers you about your child’s recovery process. 

Reach Out Today

Otoplasty for children is a delicate procedure and should be handled by someone with a high level of experience and training. Dr. Thorne is an expert in ear surgery. For more information about this treatment, you can read our frequently asked questions or contact our office online or by phone at (212) 794-0044 today. 

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Dr. Charles Thorne has guided me, consulted me on what can be done to correct my concerns, and was so honest with me about everything. He held my hand where [my first] surgeon and his team should have.

From a review on Vitals.com

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