The benefits of otoplasty for children: further evidence to satisfy the modern NHS

J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2009 Feb;62(2):190-4. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2007.09.020. Epub 2007 Nov 26.


Summary objectives: To take standards from, and revalidate an existing study which addressed the psychological and social outcomes following otoplasty in children [Bradbury E, Hewison J, Timmons M. Psychological and social outcome of prominent ear correction in children. Br J Plast Surg 1992;45:97-100]. The psychosocial experiences of children undergoing otoplasty at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire were retrospectively examined and compared to the cohort in the existing study.

Methods: Retrospective questionnaires were sent to all children aged 5-16 (n=101) who were on the hospital records having undergone otoplasty between 1999 and 2003, investigating social experiences, and experience of surgery.

Results: This study found: 97% reported an increase in happiness; 92% reported an increase in self-confidence; 79% noted improved social experience; 100% reported bullying reduced or stopped. The Wilcoxon Rank Sum Test confirmed the statistical validity of these findings (P<0.001). The existing study found: 63% of children reported increase in happiness and confidence; 13% noted improved social experiences; 53% noted bullying had stopped entirely.

Conclusions: Otoplasty is an effective procedure in alleviating psychosocial distress in the vast majority of children that undergo the operation, and hence this study supports the continued availability of otoplasty on the NHS for children with prominent ears.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Image
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ear, External / abnormalities*
  • Ear, External / surgery*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Health Care Rationing
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / psychology
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / rehabilitation*
  • Psychometrics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Self Concept
  • Social Behavior
  • State Medicine
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Treatment Outcome