Pushed to Plastic Surgery - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Pushed to Plastic Surgery

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A surprising number of children are undergoing plastic surgery in hopes that bullies will stop making fun of their appearance.

Statistics show the number of patients under the age of 19 undergoing plastic surgery have increased over 25-percent in the last five years.  Some are as young as four, who have undergone mental and emotional trauma from being ridiculed, bullied and teased by other kids.

Dr. Eid Mustafa M.D.is a Wichita Falls plastic surgeon said minors and their parents come to see him for consultations.

"They come here seeking for help.  It starts in pre-school, early school years and goes through adolescence and high school ages," he said.

The most common is tucking or pinning back the ears as well as breast reduction for both girls and boys.

"At four, five, six years of age it's usually for their prominent ears.  When other kids start calling them dumbo and various other names, that registers with the children," said Dr. Mustafa.

Nose surgery is also a frequent request, but in most cases, Dr. Mustafa said they will ask the patient to wait until they are more mature and over 18-years-old, because the nose still develops and grows during childhood.

"If it is a cleft lip or palate then that is a different story.  We will operate those at a young age or if the patient has trouble breathing through their nose, but if it is not for those reasons, we ask them to try and wait," he said.

Before giving the green light for surgery, Dr. Mustafa stated parents need to ask themselves if the procedure is really necessary for their kids.

"Things should not be taken lightly," he said.  "They have to have a full understanding before they ever make the decision."

Parents who said they might consider the procedure all declined to comment or be identified.  However, others believed there are better options.

"Probably therapy sessions with the kids," said parent, Alexandra Conzales.  "Tell them why it's bad."

"Things can go wrong and they might regret it later in life," said another parent, Charles Kreidler.

Parents opposed to the idea of children getting plastic surgery agreed children shouldn't let the bullies win by getting the procedure done.  They said children should stand strong and love themselves for who they are.

"Everybody is different.  We're all made different and I think we are all beautiful," said Marsha Gammage, parent of two kids.

Depending on the request, plastic surgery for children can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000.  In many cases insurance will not cover the costs.

There is also an organization called Little Baby Face Foundation. They provide free facial surgery for children born with facial deformities, but also elective cosmetic surgery for children who feel they do not meet normative standards of beauty.

For more information on this organization click here.

Cynthia Kobayashi, Newschannel 6.