August 14, 2012

No easy answer regarding plastic surgery for kids.

A couple of weeks ago, I heard about this non-profit that performs plastic surgery on children. It's called the Little Baby Face Foundation and it does everything from fixing cleft palates and head deformities to pinning back ears.

Little Baby Face proudly states that they perform these free surgeries so children who once hid in the shadows because of how they looked are now self-confident.
And this got me thinking.

What physical issue would my child have to have in order for me to consider plastic surgery?

And would my decision be swayed by how my child was feeling about their own appearance?

When when I posed the question on my Facebook page, one woman felt that a major physical deformity, like a missing ear or burn injury is worthy of plastic surgery. But something like a big nose or big ears are not.

But one story on the foundation's page talks about a girl who contemplated suicide because she was teased about her big ears.

And while I do agree that we shouldn't give in to bullies, I can also imagine how painful it is to look in the mirror everyday, with adolescent hormones raging, and see those ears sticking out or that big bump on the top of the nose.

If a child is so unhappy that they want to kill themselves, what should a parent do?

And please think about this from a "this is REALLY my reality" perspective. Imagine if you found out your child was close to KILLING themselves.


And don't forget, some things are apparently okay to do to your child. No one thinks twice when braces are put on to fix an overbite.

Parents don't say, "oh you'll learn to love your buck teeth."  No. They put the braces on so the child has a nice smile.

So what is wrong with pinning back ears or smoothing out the nose?

Is the fight against bullying more important than a child's depression about their physical appearance?

I understand that people should love themselves for who and what they are and that performing plastic surgery on children is a very slippery slope and not appropriate in all instances.

But I also know that there is nothing brighter in this whole world than my children's smile and if I lost that because they don't like how they look, I cannot say for certain what I would or would not do.


  1. Personally, it's a tough decision to make. But the thing is, bullying has been a glaring problem for society for quite some time now, and it can have the worst results on children. I would like to cite Nadia's case here: That's one of the worst-case scenarios, though. If there is no need for such a procedure, then say no. As parents, it's still our right to tell them what's best for them. :)

    [Geoffrey Lelia]

  2. As I see it, it wouldn’t be the first choice of a lot of people to take their children to a cosmetic surgeon to undergo plastic surgery under normal, ‘un-strained’ circumstances. However, there are exemptions. For example, If my child needs the surgery for medical purposes, then I wouldn’t hesitate to let her have one, or if my child develops an extreme case of insecurity that it reaches the stage of depression. BUT, I will only do so if I can fully trust the surgeon who will perform the operation.

    Dennis Rode

  3. Well, I agree with what Dennis said. If it will be used to cure illnesses or injuries, I would allow my kid to go through such procedure. My twelve-year old nephew went through a botox treatment to cure his spinal stenosis. It’s actually a non surgical procedure, but can be related with the other plastic surgery procedures. Most likely, others think that it is use to improve someone’s look but with today’s medical innovation, these procedures are widely being used to treat such conditions as well.