How Do I Talk to My Child About Microtia Surgery?
Microtia is a congenital deformity characterized by an external ear that is small, malformed, or absent. At his Beverly Hills, CA, center, plastic surgeon John Reinisch specializes in microtia treatment. He performs surgery to rebuild the outer ear and correct any hearing loss.
MEDPOR® ear reconstruction, a surgical technique created by Dr. Reinisch, allows children to undergo microtia surgery as young as three years old. Our parent’s guide to microtia educates parents about their child’s treatment. Additionally, Dr. Reinisch offers tips to prepare parents for how to talk to children about microtia surgery so that they feel comfortable going into treatment.
When Should I Discuss Surgery With My Child?
When preparing a child for surgery, it is good to give them time to consider what treatment will be like. However, you don’t want to give a child too much time to worry about what might happen or how surgery could hurt them. Ideally, parents should discuss microtia surgery with toddlers just a day or two before treatment. Preschool and school-age children may have more questions about the procedure, so discussions should start around three to four days before surgery.
Discuss Why Your Child Is Having Surgery
When talking to a child about microtia surgery, we recommend discussing why the procedure is necessary. Children should understand the need for surgery does not mean that something about them is bad or wrong. Explain how microtia surgery will make their ear look like other ears and how the surgery can help them hear better so that it is easier to watch TV, talk to family, and hear their teacher in school.
Keep Things Simple
At our Beverly Hills practice, microtia surgery is often performed on young children who have limited understanding. Complex words and technical terms could make a child more confused and scared about their procedure. Instead, parents should keep things simple. For instance, consider telling a child the doctor will help them fall asleep so he can rebuild their ear before they wake up.
Even the youngest children are likely to have questions about microtia surgery. Parents should answer questions as honestly as possible and avoid making promises they cannot keep. For instance, if a child asks if surgery will hurt, the parent can tell them no. However, they should let their child know that they might feel sore or achy after surgery but will feel better after getting some rest and recovery.
Give Your Child Some Control
Surgery can be scary for a child because they don’t know what to expect and they have no control over the process. Parents can give some control to their children by allowing them to ask questions and guide any conversation about treatment. Parents can also let their children make some choices about surgery, such as choosing a blanket or stuffed animal to bring with them to the hospital.
Dr. John Reinisch is a leading expert in microtia treatment. If you are interested in learning more about the surgical techniques offered at his Beverly Hills center and how they can benefit your child, we invite you to schedule an appointment. To get started, send us a message online or call (833) 896-3277.