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Steven J. Pearlman, MD, FACS Dual Board Certified in Facial Plastic Surgery

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When is it OK for kids to have plastic surgery?

So when is it ok for kids to have plastic surgery? Otoplasty is from the Greek word “to shape,” but specifically refers to surgery to the ears, the most common plastic surgery procedure for children.

The need for otoplasty may come from a congenital defect, trauma, or deformities. Natural proportion, contours, and general appearance of the external ear are managed during the otoplasty procedure.

Otoplasty one of very few facial plastic surgery procedures that are appropriate for young children. Others include procedures to correct cleft lip and cleft palate as well as other craniofacial deformities.

There are three main deformities that may require otoplasty:

Protruding ears that are due to excess cartilage
Lop ears that bend down and forward
Cupped shell ears that may be tiny or without natural creases.
A typical surgery is outpatient and will be completed in two hours.
General anesthesia is used in small children.
Afterward, the childs head is wrapped in a large bandage.
A few days later, the child will visit the surgeon to change to a lighter bandage.
Children will have to restrict activity for seven days after the procedure.
Up to three weeks after the surgery they may need to restrict certain activities.
Up to six months after the procedure they may need to wear a head band to bed to prevent the bending of the ear.
If you’re considering this procedure, please discuss the procedure with a board-certified facial plastic surgeon.

Children’s ears are fully formed by the age of five years old. Most facial plastic surgeons will suggest this as the age to begin considering otoplasty if your child is a candidate. The cartilage in the ear is most pliable at this age and is easier to mold than an adults.

Abnormal physical appearance in children can have long-term psychological affects due to teasing from other children. The younger a child is when they undergo the procedure, the longer they will have to reap the psychological benefits.

What to expect during an otoplasty procedure:

As many parents can attest, young children are usually very resilient. Taking children for a visit to the surgeon can help them become comfortable with the procedure. Computer imaging helps a lot too. Children really light up when they see how they will look with theirs ears pushed back.

To make the surgery easier on your child, you can even bring a special stuffed doll or favorite toy to hold during the procedure to enhance comfort. Filling recovery time with special activities can also make the process go more smoothly.

When total ear reconstruction is needed, a surgeon may graft cartilage from the rib cage onto the ear, to serve as material for reconstruction. Artifical bone like substances such as Medpor are also commonly used. This is called Microtia repair.

Want to see the results of an otoplasty procedure performed by Dr. Pearlman? Watch some of our Youtube videos,  and call for a consultation: (212) 380-1541

Pro Bono Facial Reconstructive Surgery, Otoplasty

Giving back to the community,

One of the greatest rewards as a surgeon is the ability to use my skills to give back to others. I have been lucky to be associated with the Little Babyface Foundation. We surgeons donate our time and expertise to perform pro-bono surgery on children with facial deformities from around the world. The foundation pays for travel, housing and all associated medical costs other than surgeon’s fees for these deserving children.

Post op day 6, the day the bandages came off

In May, I corrected congenitally (inborn) deformed ears for a sweet seven-year-old girl named Samantha from South Dakota. Samantha had protruding ears with one side folded over, called a lop ear. Good Morning America featured Samantha’s story, which was about bullying and her mother’s proactive decision to get Samantha surgery. Otoplasty surgery for an inborn deformity is corrective plastic surgery—not cosmetic. Samantha’s confidence is now soaring, her peers embrace her, and she looks beautiful! You can see this segment by clicking on the following link: (Samantha on Good Morning America)

To summarize:  It is wonderful being able to use the unique opportunities I have had by allowing me to become a surgeon to give back to others.

Browlift, Botox, Revision Rhinoplasty, Neck Liposuction, Otoplasty

Heidi Montag: too much, too young

New York, NY, It is probably a little too late to be commenting on Heidi Montag’s multiple plastic surgeries. However it is obviously still in the mind of the media and therefore the public since I was interviewed and quoted in the Daily News on Wednesday April 21. I will try to confine my comments to her face since I specialize in Facial Plastic Surgery and don’t venture south of that professionally.

Going from top to bottom:

  • Mini-brow lift: From her pre-op photos, I don’t think she really needed a brow lift. The key to the brow is shape and not height. I discussed the ideal brow shape in an earlier blog. Heidi’s brows were a little low but so are many top models and actresses. She did have the proper arch and now has too much of an arch.
  • Botox: in the forehead and frown lines. No matter how much a 23 year old frowns, it won’t leave lines. I am not a fan of using Botox when there are no lines at rest to “prevent them” from eventually appearing. I also think that too many actresses get too much Botox. It is disconcerting when watching a TV show or movie and there is no expression in anyone’s face anymore.
  • Nosejob revision: This I agree with, as her previous nose was slightly too wide for her slender (and now even more slender) face.
  • Fat injection in cheeks, nasolabial folds and lips. Everyone, even children and teens have nasolabial folds. These are a sign of character and expression. Also, fat is good but doesn’t always last in the nasolabial folds or lips.
  • Chin reduction: she did have a large chin, this one is a plus.
  • Neck liposuction: there needs to be a little fat between the skin and the muscle of the neck called the Plastysma muscle. This cushions the skin and if too much is removed you will be able to see every fiber of neck muscle as she ages. She is also a little young for facial liposuction. The facial fat changes a lot from the 20’s to the 30’s.
  • Ears pinned back (otoplasty): I cannot comment on this since her hair covered her ears in all pre-op photos I found.

As for the body stuff, as I said I can’t comment as a professional. But, as a male, I think her breasts are way too big and were more attractive before surgery.In summary, patients benefit from multiple plastic surgical procedures but there really needs to be a limit. Some people, such as Heidi Montag, went way over the line.

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