Question: Is an otoplasty an out-patient procedure?
Answer: In general, yes. However, in some children, the procedure could be advisable to keep someone over night to help with postoperative discomfort and to help with care. Even though I perform my otoplasty cases as an outpatient, I cannot guarantee every surgeon has the same philosophy. If he believes that keeping someone overnight is advised, there is typically a good reason for it.
Question: Is 12 too young for otoplasty surgery?
Answer: Not necessarily. Most ears have reached almost their adult size by 6 years of age, which for me I would consider the lower limit of acceptability. In fact, at times if you want this covered by insurance 12 years of age is sometimes the cut off age for when it may no longer be considered a deformity and then be classified as a cosmetic procedure. You should check with your insurance carrier if your insurance covers it and your surgeon you choose also accepts insurance. Many surgeons do not accept insurance for otoplasty so make sure both parties do. The other reason that 6 years of age is oftentimes considered the lowest limit of acceptability is that children under 6 years of age have a harder time handling the necessary postoperative instructions and related care. In short, they are liable to mess up the results if they are too young or go through too much psychological trauma, as they cannot handle the recovery. However, the opposite is also true: if you wait too long and the child feels ostracized or teased at school, there can also be detrimental psychological effects. I would encourage an open discussion with your child to see where the motivation is and whether he or she has been affected by the ears rather than the parents being the motivating factor. As you can see, the best course of action oftentimes is an open discussion with your child and with your prospective surgeon when deciding on having an otoplasty at a younger age.