So many individuals be it adults or children want to improve the shape or placement of their ears. While cosmetic procedures can be transforming, the surgery can also correct ear defects that individuals were born with.

Like all cosmetic procedures, there is artistry to otoplasty. The skill sets of a plastic surgeon can help balance and reshape a person’s ears.

At any age, this type of surgical correction can help enhance someone’s life through a newfound sense of self-confidence.

Candidates for this ear surgery are in two categories: children and adults.

For patients who are children, surgery typically begins as early as five years of age. During this age, doctors consider the ear cartilage established for surgical revision. Plastic surgeons also want to make certain that the child is free from ear infections and healthy overall.

Another point worth mentioning is how during the infancy stages, a newborn can have their ears altered because the cartilage is more pliable. However, after this newborn phase, the cartilage becomes less pliable so this is not an option nor is surgery.

Generally, children become surgical candidates when they turn five. For other children, they may need to wait another year or so.


For adults and older children, generally in their teen years, otoplasty candidates usually fall under the following categories:

  • Are healthy and live a healthy lifestyle
  • Do not smoke as smoking can impede healing
  • Have realistic expectations about their ear surgery


Recently, a very informative article published by Live Science underscored how children are requesting ear surgery to sidestep nasty teasing by others. Their reporter, Sara G. Miller of Live Science, interviewed the chief of pediatric plastic surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center in NYC, Dr. David Staffenberg, for some insight.

And she did just that.

Apparently, what triggered this article was the recent story about a young boy from Utah who underwent ear surgery, and the story lit up cyberspace headlines. Mothers and fathers chimed in on such a surgical decision making many wonder whether or not having a child undergo such a procedure was necessary.

In her article, Miller referred to a story about this young boy originally published by Inside Edition. The boy, a target of bullying, was being told by other children at his school that he had “elf ears.”

Out of pure concern, the parents decided to move forward with the surgery because they were deeply concerned about the adverse effects from the nonstop bullying.

Dr. Staffenberg told Miller otoplasty is growing more common, and he also shared that parents should not feel an emotional struggle. But as many parents know, that can be easier said than done.

He told Miller, “One of the confusing things parents battle with is the incorrect notion that this kind of surgery is for vanity, or purely cosmetic.

Miller dug deeper and interviewed the chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery at Columbia University in New York City, Dr. Jeffrey Ascherman. He concurred with Dr. Staffenberg.

He told Live Science that one could argue that otoplasty could be considered reconstructive surgery. And from a medical point of view, this is an excellent and valid opinion.

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