Amber says she was mercilessly teased throughout her childhood about her ears, which protruded significantly from her head. Eventually, she underwent a procedure to pin her ears back, which she says helped her feel more confident in her appearance. Now, she says she’s contemplating having the procedure done for her 6-year-old daughter, Alayna, who was born with the same condition causing her ears to stick out. Amber says she wants to protect her daughter from the pain and emotional scarring of bullying that she experienced in her youth.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon explains that Alayna’s ears lack the typical folds that keep them closer to the head. He says although Alayna is young, the procedure would be low risk and straight forward. The outer ear is 80 percent fully developed by the age of 7 or 8, he says, so Alayna is at a safe age to undergo the surgery, which involves removing a small amount of excess skin and cartilage from the back of the ear and creating a natural-looking fold with stitches.
Amber says she hasn’t spoken with Alayna yet about having her ears pinned, because she doesn’t want to make her daughter feel self-conscious.
Psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walfish explains that research shows the trauma of bullying can have lifelong repercussions for children. She applauds Amber for taking preventive action to empower her daughter, but she advises Amber to have an open and honest discussion with Alayna before taking any surgical action.
Board-certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Mike Nayak shares additional benefits the surgery can have for children and offers to perform the procedure for Alayna: