Amber recalls being mercilessly bullied as a young child because of her protruding ears. When she was 8 years old, she had surgery to treat the issue. Now a mother to 6-year-old Alayna, Amber's painful memories have re-emerged as she sees her daughter's ears developing like her own. To safeguard her daughter from experiencing the emotional difficulties she suffered, she’s contemplating having a surgeon pin back Amber's ears.
In the video above, plastic surgeon and co-host of The Doctors Dr. Andrew Ordon explains that Amber and Alayna’s ears lack the typical folds that keep them closer to the head. He says that although Alayna is young, the procedure would be low risk and straightforward. “The external ear is 80 percent fully developed by the age of 7 or 8,” he says. 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 her daughter about having the surgery, because she doesn’t want to make her feel self-conscious. Psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walfish offers Amber advice for having the conversation.
“The trauma of bullying affects a child for their entire life,” Dr. Walfish says. “Allowing Alayna to develop a positive self-image now, I believe, can empower her for the longevity of her entire life.” She suggests that Amber have a sensitive, open, and honest dialogue with Alayna to prepare her for the operation and why she’s having the surgery. “You had the same thing; she’ll relate to you.”