Jessie: Where it appears at birth or by an accident a little later in life, protruding ears can be stressful for both kids and teens. Well, Dr. Henstrom from Utah Facial Plastics is here to tell us more about otoplasty. Dr. Henstrom, how does this help children who are self conscious?
Dr. Henstrom: Well, unfortunately children are victims of teasing frequently when they do not look the same as other kids. The good news is, in my own personal experience talking with children and their parents I think the incidents of that is going down. I think we are doing a better job teaching kids that being a little different is okay. But, there’s a lot of kids and teens who grow self-conscious of whatever factor it is that makes them different than other people.
Nicea: Well and you say teasing can sometimes escalate to bullying.
Dr. Henstrom: Absolutely.
Nicea: If they look different than anybody else. It is the relationship with the mirror, right? If those kids don’t feel like they have that good relationship, then it’s tough.
Dr. Henstrom: Yeah, they have got to feel good about themselves. When there is something about them that they see everyday when they are looking in that mirror that makes them self conscious and not feel good about themselves. It’s, you know, it’s time to maybe look into what can be done for these kids to help them. It is not just for kids, it’s adults too that we see a lot of.
Jessie: Well, this procedure that can be done is an otoplasty. What is that?
Dr. Henstrom: So here is an example of a little girl that came in, big protruding ears. You know, the incidence of protruding ears, they estimate 5% of the population. So 1 in 20 people are going to have ears that stick out further than what’s considered normal.
Nicea: That is a bigger number than what I thought.
Dr. Henstrom: Yeah, it’s a lot. It effects a lot of people.That was a good example of a young child who had the protruding ears, comes in has a surgery done to pin them back. It is otherwise known as ear pinning. That’s what this surgery is.
Nicea: So, is it painful and how well do kids tolerate something like this?
Dr. Henstrom: It is painful. When we do this procedure on children, we often will take them to the operating room so that they are asleep for the procedure. As kids get older and they can take some shots and we can numb up the ear and certainly with the adult population we will do most of these procedure in the office. We will just numb up the ears so we can do the procedure and help them there.
Nicea: Are you cutting a piece of skin? Of the back…
Dr. Henstrom: Yeah, great question. There are different ways to do it, here are some other examples. The basis of this is we make an incision on the back of the ear, so the incision is well hidden. It hides and people don’t see it and then what we are doing is using sutures on the back side of the cartilage of the ear to pull it in and to get it tighter to the head. We are also using certain sutures to help form areas of the ear that might not have formed well, certain folds in the ear can be very unfolded. When we tighten those sutures it brings them in and forms new folds in the ear. So, here’s just some examples of some of the patients that we’ve had.
Jessie: These are incredible to see these results. Lets talk about the recovery. We heard about what the procedure is, what’s the recovery time like?
Dr. Henstrom: Yeah, recovery takes a few weeks for sure. We have to make sure that the ears stay in place that where we have put them. So, we have our patients use a headband around their ears for a few weeks after the surgery to help keep the ears in. There is some pain involved the first couple of days but, patients get through that. It is a very low complication type of procedure with very good results.
Nicea: Summer might be a good time to try that for your kids.
Dr. Henstrom: Summer is one of the more popular times. We see a lot of these kids starting to come in when school is getting out. So this is the time of the year that we start seeing parents and their young children or others who are thinking about doing this right as school gets out so they have all summer to heal up. They do not have to miss too many of the summer experiences that they are going to want to have but then they are all set to go for school in the fall.
Jessie: Dr. Henstrom before we go take a break, I want to know what reaction are you getting from your patients after they have this done?
Dr. Henstrom: Here’s the best reaction… This is how I know a patient is very happy. Young girls will come in and they are wearing their hair pulled back and they are showing off their ears.
Nicea: You can do a ponytail, you can wear a bun.
Dr. Henstrom: A young boy is cutting his hair short now. They are showing it off.
Nicea: Utah Facial Plastics everybody. It is the otoplasty procedure. If you would like to know more about it please text or call that phone number on your screen or you can go to utahfacialplastics.com. Dr. Henstrom, good to see you.
Dr. Henstrom: Thanks for having me.