According to a report conducted by ABC News last Thursday, seven year old Samantha Shaw recently underwent a cosmetic procedure in New York City to pin back her cup ears and repair a fold in her right ear. The operation was performed free of charge with the help of the Little Baby Face Foundation, an organization dedicated to “Transforming the Lives and Faces of Children” through correcting a wide variety of birth defects.
To many parents, performing plastic surgery to improve the aesthetics of a seven year old’s ears may seem a little much. According to Samantha’s mother, however, the procedure was the only way to keep her daughter from being bullied unfairly. Dr. Steven Pearlman, who performed the surgery in his New York office, agreed that the cosmetic prodecdure was the right course of action for Samantha. He maintains that children with physical abnormalities are less likely to develop the nurturing, supportive relationships with their peers that help them develop into confident individuals.
“You’re not suggesting children get plastic surgery in order to avoid bullying?” ABC’s Juju Chang asked Dr. Pearlman.
“It depends where you draw the line,” he replied, “if it’s minor, if it’s cosmetic, absolutely not. But in my book – and in most the medical community’s book, the plastic surgery community’s book – ears that stick out is not a cosmetic issue.”
Samantha’s surgery is part of a growing trend in the United States. According to ABC’s report, the incidence of children undergoing surgical cosmetic procedures has increased around thirty percent in the last decade.
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