Plastic surgery continues to be a topic of controversy with numerous contradicting viewpoints. The celebrities make it seem easy. In most cases, it’s the parents who adamantly stand against it, especially when it comes to letting their kids go under the knife. But for 14-year-old Nadia Ilse, it was her mother who found a way to make it possible for her request for surgery to be granted.
It all started when Nadia, a resident of Georgia, was in first grade. The endless bullying that tormented her for years began when a classmate teased her for having unusually big ears. Since that time, everything changed for her. Her classmates called her a bunch of rude names and the bullying continued. Nadia started hating the shape of her ears that never really bothered her before. She isolated herself and went from being friendly to being an introvert.
Despite continued efforts to battle bullying in the U.S., it has remained a prevailing problem in schools and even the community. Unreported cases often perpetuate bad behavior especially from younger children. Victims have been known to adopt different coping mechanisms.
At age 10, Nadia decided to do something about it. She did not stand up against bullies, or asked to transfer schools. Instead, she asked again and again for plastic surgery to have her ears corrected. It wasn’t such an easy thing to ask, just as it wasn’t an easy thing to give. After all, it costs around $40,000 for the kind of procedure Nadia wanted—to have her ears pinned back. The procedure known as otoplasty is popular among young people. Around 42% of patients who undergo this surgery are below 18 years of age.
Due to financial constraints, Nadia’s mother searched for assistance wherever it was offered until she stumbled upon the Little Baby Face Foundation. It is a non-profit organization established in 2002 that gives free plastic surgery services to children like Nadia who experience bullying for the way she looks. The advocacy of the group is helping kids with facial deformities. The foundation offered to shoulder the expenses for Nadia.
Four years after Nadia first asked for the surgery, mother and daughter were transported to New York City to receive this generosity. Their original request for an otoplasty received additional bonus surgeries to work on other areas of the face—her misaligned septum through reduction rhinoplasty and to adjust her chin through mentoplasty.
The surgeries were performed by Dr. Thomas Romo III, the founder of Little Baby Face Foundation. He felt it was necessary because after the otoplasty, the usual attention drawn to her ears will now be diverted to the other features of her face. By then, the nose alignment and pointy chin will become noticeable. So Dr. Romo performed the extra surgeries to achieve a balance in Nadia’s facial features.
Nadia admitted that the bullying she experienced really hurt her, but now she is happy with the results. Beneath the new look she has, the remnants of the psychological and emotional pains of her experiences remain unfixed. These wounds take longer to heal and that going under the knife can never truly patch up.
Her mother knows just how much damage it has caused inside. That is why she wants her daughter to undergo counseling in the hopes that she can move on and live normally.