Bullying is generally recognized as persistent, repetitive acts of direct or indirect aggression that exploit social power imbalances. And for many children and adults, it’s an unfortunate part of life. In fact, The Center for Disease Control recognizes bullying as a major public health problem. (1) Over 3.2 million children are bullied each year, the majority of them because of their appearance.(2) It’s well-documented that children who are bullied have lasting emotional scars, and that it ultimately affects academic performance.
But it’s more than a heartbreaking part of childhood. Men and women also get bullied. The ramifications can impact and impede professional success and financial stability. Truth be told, bullying also continues into middle age, and occurs in academia, on the golf course, and in the board room.
Luckily, plastic surgery has proven effective in combatting “appearance-based” bullying. A quick corrective surgery allows many children and adults to experience an empowering boost in self-esteem. While it can be impossible to predict what will provoke aggression, in many cases, it’s an uncomfortable and well-recognized feature to the child or adult who bears it. What can seem to be a benign physical trait like a birthmark, whether minimal, moderate or profound, can open the door to lasting emotional damage. In these instances, plastic surgery is both an aesthetic and medical procedure. I work closely with families to determine if plastic surgery is an appropriate response to unrelenting bullying or taunting.
- 1 A Lasting Impact
- 2 Looking Forward
- 3 Recognizing Bullying
- 4 Restoring Confidence
- 5 Frequently asked Questions
- 6 Before and After Photos
- 7 References
A Lasting Impact
I will start with a personal story. My beautiful daughter had the most prominent ears I had ever seen. So much so, that when I was preparing an instructional presentation on otoplasty, she said “Dad, that is what I have!” She was right. At that time, she was only 3, and I usually do these surgeries at age 5. Some time went on and several kids were making fun of her having “monkey ears.” My daughter would also draw pictures of herself with large ears. Needless to say, she had her surgery and is much more confident.
Growing up in this age, society places an unfair amount of weight on appearance. Furthermore, iPhone selfies and pictures with morphing abilities have made people more critical of their looks. Perhaps it’s also because plastic surgery is more acceptable and more available in this day in age. But at the same time, that also makes it a logical alternative to enduring bullying.
Being bullied during formative years can have a lasting effect.
Bullying doesn’t just decrease motivation to achieve scholastically, it also affects how students perceive their academic abilities. These consequences may also be long-lasting. A recent study found that students who were bullied in high school were less motivated, and experienced emotional, social, and institutional problems in their first semesters at university. (3) This doesn’t only put academic achievement and professional prospects at risk, it also compromises their ability to thrive in future social settings. Studies on bullying in the workplace report similar effects on a victim’s performance and their assessment of its value. For adults, plastic surgery can be a way to finally take control after enduring years cruelty or inhibitive self-consciousness. A simple procedure can make a feature completely overlooked or even admired. It’s a gift that ensures that they have every well-deserved advantage in life. And many of these patients wish that there could have been the chance to intervene sooner. Many corrective surgeries have faster recovery times and are less extensive if performed at a young age.
The CDC describes bullying as characterized by repetitive aggressive physical or verbal behavior that involves a real or perceived imbalance of power. One of the most insidious characteristics of bullying is the impact that it has on everyone exposed to it, including those who are forced to witness it. Children who are bullied are in turn more likely to bully others in order to assert themselves and reclaim power. (4)
Some of the same hallmarks of bullying in children are also seen in bullying in the workplace. For many, bullying includes:
- Violence or threats of violence
- Unconstructive criticism
- Intentional social exclusion
- Being subjected to malicious gossip or rumors
- Having essential equipment, resources, or information withheld (5)
While it’s not hard to identify bullying if you’re the victim, it can be difficult to speak about and gauge the extent of the impact it has. That’s why it’s essential to establish an empathetic dialogue with patients and their loved ones in order to identify and prevent this destructive activity. It is not uncommon that the patient will come with their parents or loved ones. This is a very sensitive topic which requires the utmost in experience to treat optimally with sensitivity and education. At the Optimization Centre, it’s our goal to create a safe, nurturing, and educational environment where patients can acquire the tools they need to make an informed decision and enjoy a happy, confident life.
With today’s innovative and effective medical interventions, there’s no reason to endure needless suffering. Choosing to work in any medical field is a commitment to health and safety. Plastic surgery offers the potential to restore emotional health, reinforce self-confidence, and build the foundation for a successful life.
Some of the physical challenges I help patients overcome include:
- Acne and acne scarring
- “Big nose” rhinoplasty
- Gynecomastia/breasts in men
- Breast deformities
- Unwanted fat
- Weak chins
The list goes on, but these are the most common.Our team has been wholeheartedly dedicated to creating a safe, compassionate environment where patients can address and learn more about the aspects of their appearance that have become emotionally burdensome. To learn more about the Optimization Centre and schedule your personal consultation at our Boca Raton offices, call (561) 495-2700 or fill out this form at your convenience, and one of our friendly staff will reach out to you shortly.
Frequently asked Questions
This is a safe space for you to ask questions about some of the procedures that we commonly perform to correct conditions that can lead to unnecessary emotional distress. If you’ve been considering a procedure to ensure you or a loved one has every advantage, you’re not alone. As part of our ongoing mission to provide compassionate support, we’re here to answer any and all of your questions. If you have a question, let us know! Send us an email at:______ and we’ll post a helpful response below.
Questions about Ear Surgery
What is Otoplasty or ear pinning?
Ear pinning is a surgery that will correct ears that look large compared to the head. The surgery is done with hidden incisions on the back of the ear. The surgery will reestablish a normal-looking, proportionate ear.
Why do people have ear surgeries?
People choose to undergo an otoplasty because they are self-conscious. They may find that it makes it difficult to wear certain hairstyles. Furthermore, they get bullied by people making negative comments.
How long is the recovery?
Patients can generally return to school or work after 3-5 days. Depending on the extent of the surgery, the patient may need to wear a headband to keep the ears covered.
Do I have to go to sleep or completely under for ear surgery?
Oftentimes, the surgery can be done under local anesthesia and oral sedation. Some patients would rather have their procedure performed under twilight anesthesia, and we’re happy to offer our patients that option.
Is ear surgery painful?
Usually Tylenol or Tylenol with codeine is all that is needed for the first 24-48 hours.
Do I have to be hospitalized for ear surgery?
No. Most patients go home the same day.
Before and After Photos
- Frieden TR, Degutis LC, Spivak H. Measuring Bullying Victimization, Perpetration, and Bystander Experiences: A Compendium of Assessment Tools.; 2012. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/bullycompendium-a.pdf
- National Center for Education Statistics. (2019, July 16). Student Reports of Bullying: Results From the 2017 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey. Nces.ed.gov. https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2019054
- Samara, M., Da Silva Nascimento, B., El-Asam, A., Hammuda, S., & Khattab, N. (2021). How Can Bullying Victimisation Lead to Lower Academic Achievement? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Mediating Role of Cognitive-Motivational Factors. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(5), 2209. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052209
- Reijntjes, A., Vermande, M., Thomaes, S., Goossens, F., Olthof, T., Aleva, L., & Van der Meulen, M. (2015). Narcissism, Bullying, and Social Dominance in Youth: A Longitudinal Analysis. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 44(1), 63–74. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-015-9974-1
- Steele, N. M., Rodgers, B., & Fogarty, G. J. (2020). The Relationships of Experiencing Workplace Bullying with Mental Health, Affective Commitment, and Job Satisfaction: Application of the Job Demands Control Model. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(6), 2151. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17062151