Ear-tucking surgery for children

Dr. Ed Buchanan, a pediatric plastic surgeon, explains ear-pinning (or ear-tucking) surgery for children
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Ear-tucking surgery for children

So treating a child who has bilateral prominent ears is a common thing that pediatric plastic surgeons will do. The reason for that is because there’s a large social stigma related to a child that has ears that are overly prominent. There’s nothing wrong with that child’s ear. It’s just that it’s folded and shaped a little differently. So the things that a pediatric plastic surgeon will do that is to recreate the folds to give it a more normal shape. The surgery involved with that entails an incision that is behind the ear so that no one will ever be able to see it, and then recreating that fold, recreating the normal angle with the head with sutures. The biggest deal with that surgery is that most children have to wear a head wrap for 2-6 weeks after surgery to help with the shaping of the ear. That can become a significant problem in the summertime and warmer climates because it gets very hot. But that’s just something to be aware of. It’s an operation that we do a lot as plastic surgeons. And the ideal timing for a surgery like that is usually between 7-9 years of age. The reason for that is the ear is still growing all the way up until 10 years of age. And you don’t want to do surgery on an ear that’s continuing to grow because you may very well have to repeat that surgery. So normally most people will recommend between 7-9 years of age to do that operation.

Dr. Ed Buchanan, a pediatric plastic surgeon, explains ear-pinning (or ear-tucking) surgery for children


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Edward Buchanan

Pediatric Plastic Surgeon & Author

Dr. Edward P. Buchanan is an Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Plastic Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.  He is the Chief of Cleft and Craniofacial Surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital. Before coming to Houston, he trained in Plastic Surgery at Stanford University and did further training in Pediatric Plastic Surgery and Craniofacial Surgery at Seattle Children’s Hospital in Seattle, Washington.  Although he performs all kinds of Plastic and Pediatric Plastic Surgery, his main focus of practice is Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery as well as Craniofacial Surgery.When he is not in Houston, Dr. Buchanan enjoys traveling to countries across the globe to teach and learn from other surgeons.  His most recent trip was to Lilongwe, Malawi, where he was a member of the Texas Children’s Hospital Global Surgical Initiative to help perform and teach Cleft and Pediatric Plastic Surgery.He recently wrote a children’s book entitled, “The Adventures of the Prickly Pear and the Happy Hoglet: Beginning the Journey of the Mental Ninja.” The book is intended to help children begin to develop a healthy self-image so that they can begin their Journey to becoming Mental Ninja’s (mentalninja.org).  The story was inspired by the children and family’s Dr. Buchanan has cared for over the years. 

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