• 20 May 2016

Perhaps each one of us has gone through that stage in our lives when we are teased for our physical deformities. Having ears that are not in proportion with the rest of our head is no exception.

Though we try hard not to let it get to us, we cannot help but wonder, “What if my ears are smaller? What if they’re not that weird-looking?” The fact that other people make fun of them all the time can make us lose our confidence and self-esteem, even at a young age.

Such is the case of a six-year-old boy who underwent otoplasty—a cosmetic procedure that alters the appearance of the ears—with the full consent of his parents.

Bullied at a young age

Gage Berger often dreaded going to school for fear of getting teased because of his ears. His classmates would often tell him that he looked like an elf because of his weird ears. He would often stare at the mirror and try to push back his ears just to see what it would look like.

Gage’s parents feared that bullying might have life-long effects in his self-esteem, so they decided to seek advice from plastic surgeon. He suggested an ear pinning surgery, which would reshape Gage’s ears and eventually spare him from his classmates’ taunts.

Gage is not the only person to undergo otoplasty at a tender age. According to NYU Langone Medical Center chief of pediatric plastic surgery Dr. David Staffenberg, this type of surgery is becoming more common among children. Thanks to the Internet, people are now more aware of the existence of this less-known cosmetic surgery.

To make it easier for you, we have come up with a short checklist of questions that you should ask your surgeon before an otoplasty.
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In addition, the notion that otoplasty is purely for cosmetic purposes is getting outdated. According to Dr. Jeffrey Ascherman, chief of Division of Plastic Surgery at Columbia University, otoplasty is more of a reconstructive surgery than a cosmetic one. For him, reconstructive surgery is all about returning a feature to a ‘normal’ appearance, as opposed to cosmetic surgery that involves enhancing a ‘normal’ feature.

For many people, six years old might sound too young for an elective surgery like otoplasty. But in reality, this procedure is being done to even younger kids. In fact, Dr. Staffenberger said that parents are increasingly addressing prominent ears in newborns, as the cartilage in the ears is more moldable during the first few weeks of an infant’s life. But once the parents miss these first few weeks, the cartilage in the ear becomes firmer and no longer moldable. They have to wait until the child is five years old before his ears become stiff enough to undergo otoplasty. By this time, the child could have already been bullied.

Dr. Staffenberger believes that putting off ear surgery may not be the best solution, especially in terms of confidence and self-esteem. Patients who undergo otoplasty when they are already adults “have already endured a lifetime of teasing and bullying,” he said. Some have even spent most of their lives covering their ears because they felt conspicuous.

Hence, getting an otoplasty sooner rather than later might be a great way to boost a child’s confidence.

Celebrities do it, too

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However, children are not the only ones battling with self-esteem issues because of their prominent ears. Even a few celebrities chose to undergo otoplasty both as a reconstructive and cosmetic surgery.

Not everyone may be aware of it, but Brad Pitt—considered by People Magazine as the “Sexiest Man Alive” on multiple occasions—has undergone otoplasty. If you look at his old photos as a young man, you will notice that his ears were sticking out a bit. That is why at the start of his acting career, he made a decision to get an otoplasty to have his ears pinned closer to his head. Today, Pitt is still known as one of the best-looking men in the world.

Ben Stiller is another Hollywood icon who allegedly underwent otoplasty. Although he has not publicly admitted getting an ear plastic surgery, it is obvious in his before and after photos that his ears have been toned down and pinned back recently. The procedure is very subtle, yet its effects are dramatic enough to be noticed by keen observers.

But while people are still wondering whether Ben Stiller had plastic surgery or not, Heidi Montag is very open to all the cosmetic surgeries that she underwent in the past. A total plastic surgery junkie, Heidi Montag has tried the most common procedures like liposuction, breast augmentation, buttocks augmentation, and rhinoplasty. She has even admitted to getting an otoplasty to reduce the protrusion of her rather large ears.

According to the reality star, she used to cringe at the sight of her conspicuous ears when watching herself on television. But thanks to otoplasty, she now has ‘sexy ears,’ allowing her to wear her hair pulled back or in an updo rather than hidden behind her voluminous tresses. For Heidi Montag, otoplasty made her feel more confident about her looks.

However, not all celebrities who underwent otoplasty did so for cosmetic purposes. Paul Stanley, the iconic guitarist and vocalist of Kiss, decided to have an otoplasty to correct a congenital ear defect known as microtia.

Microtia is a condition wherein the external ear did not develop properly. There are even instances where the external ear is lacking altogether. This could cause significant hearing impairment, which is a huge deal for a musician like Paul Stanley. Hence, the rocker opted to get a reconstructive ear surgery for his affected ear.

There are various reasons why people choose to undergo otoplasty. Some do it because they need it while others simply want to look and feel better. Still, most of them just want to live a normal and happy life, free from all the teasing and bullying.

If you are considering otoplasty to help you achieve the confidence and self-esteem that you sorely lack, then feel free to drop us a message and schedule a consultation with us. Our experienced plastic surgeons at Face + Body Cosmetic Surgery will answer all the questions that you may have regarding Otoplasty in Miami.