Plastic Surgery for children, as a response to bullying, has gone up 30 percent in the last decade. In order to prevent their children from being taunted, parents are letting them go under the knife. More and more teens are begging their parents for plastic surgery. There were more than 240,000 cosmetic surgery procedures on teens in 2015, with the most common surgeries for kids 18 and under being otoplasty (pinning ears back) and rhinoplasty (nose job).
Is the world going crazy or is this a good thing?
Plastic surgery for children
Angry comments have sprouted up all over the web accusing parents of being irresponsible. People have ranted, “Parents should teach their children to love themselves and not give in to bullies.”
Yeah right, and people should just say no to drugs. If only it were that simple.
Over 3.2 million students are bullied every year and the number one reason is because of how they look. Seventy-five percent of school shootings are by kids who were bullied. Suicide has become the third-leading cause of death among young people, and the majority of suicides are in response to bullying. So if a child asks for plastic surgery because they’re being bullied, should parents take it seriously?
“When I found out my daughter Nadia was being bullied, I was heartbroken,” said Lynda Ilse. “For Nadia the bullying got so bad she was crying herself to sleep and skipping school. After Nadia got her ears pinned back, her nose fixed, and a chin implant her self-esteem went way up. It may not be right for everyone, but for us it was the right decision.”
Chloe Delekto is a young girl born with a large birthmark that ran from the bottom of her nose straight down to her mouth like a mustache. “We have heard every comment under the sun,” said Sheila Delekto, Chloe’s mom. “And she is only 3 years old. Thoughts of how Chloe would be able to cope took over. The more time went on, the more my husband and I worried.”
Chloe and Nadia will both be featured on NBC’s “Dateline” on Jan. 5 at 8 p.m. The plastic surgeon that operated on both girls, Dr. Thomas Romo, III, will be featured on the show as well. Dr. Romo is a successful facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. His clientele is a combination of celebrities, everyday people who want an improvement, and children.
“I am not a psychiatrist,” said Dr. Romo, “and bullying is not what makes me move forward. First I make a diagnosis and come up with a treatment plan. Nadia Ilse had ears lacking an antihelical fold that made her ears stick out. That is a birth defect. That is a minor birth defect, but it’s still a birth defect. She had a deviated septum and a condition called hemifacial microsomia, which made the bones on your face grow asymmetrically. That condition worsens with age.”
Within the description of academic birth defects there are three types: minimal, moderate and profound. Whether someone has a minor defect or a major defect it is still a defect. “Like being pregnant,” said Dr. Romo, “it is or it isn’t.”
However, whether or not a child is being bullied should not be the sole basis of a diagnosis. Doctors take the Hippocratic oath, which says they will do no harm. They should be asking each time, “Is there really a defect or is the child trying to look like an airbrushed photo in a magazine?”
Dr. Romo said, “A physician has to consider a number of things before operating, like if a parent is pushing the child into surgery or if the child is a good candidate for surgery. Heidi Montag having 10 plastic surgeries when she was already a pretty girl shows irresponsibility on the part of the doctor. A surgeon should not just say yes all the time. I had one woman come in who’d had five nose jobs. I told her I don’t care who operates on you, your risk-benefit ratio is not good because your skin has been cut into five times. This is not the trunk of a car you can open and close. Every time a person undergoes a rhinoplasty, and then revision rhinoplasties, the blood supply is cut across and reduced each time.
That’s what happened to Michael Jackson. He’d had so many nose jobs that there wasn’t enough blood circulating to the tip of his nose and it fell off. Michael Jackson’s doctor was a bad guy. Here was this guy giving him Propofol to get sleep so he could get up in the morning to dance. Propofol is only supposed to be used in a hospital. You have to make sure you are managing the breathing. Michael Jackson stopped breathing and the doctor had left the room; he wasn’t there supervising like he should have been.”
Dr. Romo agrees that whenever you are considering plastic surgery, for your child or for yourself, you must use due diligence and make an educated decision. Before any medical procedure you want to get a number of consultations. Make sure the plastic surgeon is double board certified, affiliated with a hospital, and has written academic papers.
“There is nothing wrong with treating children under certain circumstances,” Dr. Romo said, “but there has to be a responsible doctor making a proper diagnosis.”