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EAR RECONSTRUCTION

I - PYSCHOLOGICAL PREPARATION

Psychologically well-prepared children adapt to the treatment process more easily, both the operation and the postoperative period are much more comfortable. Therefore, it is very important to prepare the child psychologically for the operation, and parents have a great responsibility in this matter. You may find yourself inadequate in this regard, but after carefully reading and understanding the information provided below, you will see that it is not as difficult as you think.

Psikolojik Hazırlık

HOW TO PREPARE YOUR CHILD FOR SURGERY ?

Having a child undergo a surgery is usually a scary situation for most families. Most of this fear comes from a lack of knowledge and the additional stress that comes with the fact that the patient is a child. Although surgical procedures are to be performed by a team of experts, it is entirely out of parents' control and thus a serious source of concern for the parents whose children will undergo surgery. In this section, which has been prepared to help relieve your worries and fears about ear reconstruction, you can find some tips to help for phychological preperation of the parents and children for surgery.

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It is very important that you talk with your child properly about microtia and the surgery to be performed. To motivate your child in a positive way, you can talk about how they will look great with their new ear, that they can wear any glasses, earrings or headphones they want; you can show the photos of happy children who have already had ear reconstruction.  It will be quite helpful  in preoperative preperation of the kids to meet the doctor who will perform the surgery and his team  at least a few months before the surgery, and  hearing pleasant stories about the doctor from you.

PSYCHOLOGICALLY WELL-PREPARED

CHILDREN CAN OVERCOME THE FEAR OF SURGERY

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HOW CAN WE ACHIEVE THIS ?

PREPARE YOURSELF FIRST

As parents, your role in preparing the children for surgery and during the postoperative period in which they will stay in the hospital is crucial. However, if you are not well prepared for this, you will not be able to help either your child or our team. Therefore, the first step of a child's psychological preparation before an ear reconstruction should be preparing the parents themselves. 

Children receive most of their emotional cues from adults. They easily perceive your stress, anxiety and fear and match these feelings. In short, children's behavior is often shaped by observing those around them, especially their parents. If you show anxiety and fear, it is inevitable that your child will model this behavior. In other words, they will be scared and worried the same way you are. If you can stay calm and brave, the child is more likely to do the same.  Therefore, as a parent, you must first set your own fears and worries aside in order to be able to help your child and the team that undertakes your child's treatment. Well, how are you going to do that?  

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Children copy their parents in terms of their feeling and behavior patterns.

"Learn as Much as You Can"

As humans, our fears and worries often come from the unknown; so, as a parent, all you have to do to keep your fears and worries about the life of your child under control is to equip yourself with knowledge.  Find out as much as possible about your child's condition and treatment of microtia, as well as about what will happen before, during and after surgery, and what the healing process will be like. As DR. MUTAF INTERNATIONAL MICROTIA CLINIC team, we are happy to answer all your questions about the surgery. Because we know well that knowledge overcomes fear, and the more knowledge you have, the easier it will be for you to put aside your fears.  You will see that your fears and worries will decrease, and you will relax as you learn.

REMEMBER

KNOWLEDGE
RELIEVES
FEAR

TALK TO YOUR CHILD WHEN YOU ARE READY

If you feel psychologically ready after you have been sufficiently informed about the surgery and treatment your child will undergo, you can now proceed to the stage of explaining the process to your child. Take the time to explain the details of the process to your child in a way they can understand.

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How to Explain This to Your Children Depends on Their Age and Characters

All children, except babies, should be at least told that they will go to the hospital to undergo a surgery. Parents should also give some basic information about how it will be to be in the hospital and when they will return home.

The things you should do and say to prepare your child for the surgery will depend on their age and how much they can understand. However, there are three general strategies that parents can use to help their children: figure out the right tone; be calm, and be honest. Before making any explanations to your child, let your child ask questions, express their concerns, if any, and what is in their mind with their own words by asking your child what they know, what they are curious and whether they have any questions about ear construction.  Thus, before you begin your speech, you can learn your child's thoughts on this issue, whether positive or negative, and you can start by answering questions or correcting misleading information that create fear and worry in your child.

You can say that it is easier said than done, and you will be right. Indeed, this is not always easy, especially if your child says, "I don't want it! I'm afraid. Will it hurt?" So, what do we say, and how do we explain it?

Please Choose Your Words Carefully

First of all, being honest shouldn't mean being scary. Instead of informing them directly, you can use the storytelling method to explain the surgery to your child.  In doing so, it is important that you choose your words carefully. Because children often interpret words with their initial meaning. Over the years, we have developed a special language to comfort pediatric patients in our clinic. We use phrases that will not scare children, for example: instead of "opening a vein" we will put a butterfly, instead of "removing stitches" we will clean the blue threads, or instead of “wound care" we will put cream on the new ear, etc. With a similar approach, it is very important that you create more pleasant words instead of words such as needle, wound, blood, cut, stitch that will cause fear in the child. You can create better words based on the character and age of your child, but this short text, which we have created in the light of our experience, can help or at least inspire you to tell your child about the hospital stay without scaring him.

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I AM SCARED!

Honey, it's normal to be scared because you don't know what's going to happen. Calm down and let me to tell  you, please.

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While applying the storytelling method to inform your child about the ear reconstruction procedure, you can be much more creative; you can develop different expressions according to your child's age and character. However, it is very important that you focus on the expressions that you SHOULD NOT use more than the words that you should use while doing this, because you can negatively affect the child with a wrong statement that you will set up. For this purpose, you can use the table below, where we have sampled the true and false statements from the point of view of child psychology.

INCORRECT
CORRECT

IT WON'T HURT!

BE HONEST

It may hurt a little, just a little while the IV catheter is inserted, but not more than you felt when you're getting a vaccine. 

DON’T BE SCARED !

YOU ARE NOT AFRAID, YES ?

DO NOT PUT THE IDEA OF FEAR INTO YOUR CHILD'S MIND

 Talk about positive outcomes of ear reaconstruction as”honey you  will look great”,  “you will be able to wear headphones ,glasses, wonderful earrings” etc.

WE ARE GOING FOR SURGERY

WE ARE GOING TO MAKE YOUR SMALL EAR BIGGER

NEEDLE, SUTURE, CUT, WOUND

  BUTTERFLY, CLEANING, APPLYING CREAM

WE ARE HERE HONEY

I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU

These words break the child away from the team, and the doctor and his assistants will be coded as peopleyour child is not safe with.

We need to be outside DURING THIS TREATMENT

YOUR DOCTOR WILL BE HERE WITH YOU

Especially when entering the operating room, sentences such as "don't be afraid, we are here" have the opposite effect, causing fear and anxiety to be etched into the child's mind.  On the contrary, you should make sentences that will make your child eager for ear reconstruction. For example, just say, "IT's GOING TO BE GREAT." To encourage your kid more, you can promise for something, that you know he/she wants very much, after the ear reconstruction. However, you should fulfill these promises that you made before the operation to avoid a trust problem between you and your child.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PREOPERATIVE PSYCHOLOGICAL PREPARATION

  • Make sure your child understands that ear reconstruction will help them feel better about their life.

  • Tell your child when they will have the surgery and how long they will stay in the hospital.

 

  • You can take advantage of some books written for children that contain stories about hospitals to help them better understand the hospital stay, and you can find videos on YouTube that may be useful in this regard.

 

  • If possible, ask your child to draw/paint  a picture about ear reconstruction. Then talk to your child about the picture so that you can understand the thoughts in their mind.

 

  • Play the "hospital game" with toys such as puppets, dolls, etc. before the surgery. This can help your child understand and deal with the experience and let you know how your child is feeling.

 

  • Bring your child's favorite toy, doll or blanket to the hospital and let your child know that it will be there when they wake up after the surgery. Your child may enjoy helping you pack these items before they arrive at the hospital.

 

  • Explain to your children that thanks to a special "sleeping machine" called an anesthetia unit, they will not feel anything during the procedure, and when they wake up, they will see that their ear became bigger.

 

  • Do not mention that your child will have  injections  directly, but explain with appropriate sentences that an intravenous catheter should be inserted, which may hurt just a little, as it is inevitable for surgery.

  • Fear of pain (algophobia) is probably the most common fear of having surgery. Please do not mention the concepts of pain and fear unless the child asks. If your child asks, instead of saying, "It doesn't hurt at all," you can say, "It may hurt a little, but it will go away soon, because your doctor will give you medicines that will make you feel no pain but relax you."

  • Don't answer questions you don't know the answer to. If you're not sure how to answer your child's questions, tell them you don't know, but you will learn for them. You can write the questions on a piece of paper and consult our team for more information.

What we want from you parents is, in a nutshell, a positive and supportive approach that will allow your children to come our clinic free of fears and worries.

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