Plastic surgery is enjoying an increasingly comfortable reception in much of the world, a fact that’s attested to by the growing number of patients who undergo cosmetic procedures with each passing year. Last year saw a sharp rise in the number of men committing to plastic surgery, and now a similar rise is being witnessed among an even less likely demographic: children.
Some parents have begun to consider plastic surgery as an option to manage teasing and bullying dished out on account of abnormal features like ears that stick out or an over-sized nose.
“I would hear all kinds of things, dumbo, whatever,” says London Woodward about her own early years. Woodward recently had work done on her right ear, and says she’s considering approving the procedure for her eleven and thirteen year old daughters.
“I didn’t like it,” continues London, referring to the bullying, “it made me feel insecure.”
Dr. Michael Olding, a George Washington University plastic surgeon, admits that correcting wayward ears is a fairly simple, routine procedure — even for children. But he’s not sure that abnormal features and being bullied at school have such a straightforward, cause and effect relationship.
“The knife is not the answer,” says Dr. Olding, who believes that the bullying itself needs to be addressed instead of whatever inane detail the bully has chosen to latch onto. For Mrs. Woodward and her daughters, however, the prospect of reducing the teasing and bullying in one fell swoop holds a certain allure.
“People judge you on a lot of other things,” says Aubrey, one of Mrs. Woodward’s daughters. “And then when you add an ear to it, it makes you feel bad.”
“They’ve been teased a little bit in elementary and in junior high,” continues Mrs. Woodward, sympathizing with her daughters. “So it’s something I think they want to do, so we’re behind them.”
While performing cosmetic procedures on children may have been unheard of just ten or twenty years ago, times are certainly changing. Even Dr. Olding, while he doesn’t believe surgery is the right course to prevent bullying, admits that he’s still willing to perform some procedures on children — assuming they display a certain level of emotional maturity.
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