According to Fox News, the number of kids and teenagers seeking plastic surgery has increased by nearly a third over the last ten years ( http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/health/2011/05/18/childhood-plastic-sur...). Many of these patients are resorting to surgery as a way to avoid being bullied for their physical features. Kids as young as 5 or 6 are undergoing procedures like ear pinning, which reduces the prominence of the ears.
While many surgeons make the distinction between cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery, many people do not make that distinction. They argue that elective plastic surgery is not appropriate for those under 18, no matter the reason. Nevertheless, surgeons note that plastic surgery on children and teens is a growing trend.
Dr. John Teichgraeber, who has performed plastic surgery on children for more than 2 decades, says he's recently noticed a change. “The kids are much more attuned to their own personal appearance at a younger age. Their nose is a little off, they’ll start talking to me about it at 6-8, as opposed to 12-14 like they used to before,” Dr. Teichgraeber said.
According to child psychologist Dr. Edward Reitman, surgery could send the wrong message, blaming the media and society as a whole. “It’s the whole image our society is giving people: you aren’t good enough, you need to be better, different,” says Dr. Reitman. Meanwhile, Dr. Teichgraeber notes that children are often too young to understand the risks of surgery. “You still have to be put to sleep, there’s still the risk of infection, still the risk of something catastrophic happening,” he cautioned.
Yet with cases in the news of children committing suicide after being bullied in school, it's no surprise that many parents are turning to plastic surgery in an effort to help their kids avoid bullies. Many students agree with this side. Student Cece White said “If a physical appearance thing is really detracting yourself from who you are as a person, to the point where you can’t be yourself, then I think it’s okay to go ahead and get a surgery.” Meanwhile, others – such as student John Cameron Carter-- argue for acceptance, saying “If your nose has a little bump or your ears are too big, own it and make it you, and things do get better.”
What do you think? Should kids undergo nose reshaping or ear pinning surgeries to avoid bullies?