The song says some kids just want two front teeth for Christmas, but others are getting a whole new face. Children across the region who are the targets of bullies are going to great lengths to make the taunting stop, including plastic surgery. Dr. Richard Bruneteasu is a plastic surgeon in Omaha/Council Bluffs who says more children from Iowa, Nebraska and beyond are seeking help from his office because they’re bullied.
“When people stand out a bit, they become targets of abuse from time to time,” Dr. Bruneteasu says. “We see kids who come in, maybe they have prominent ears and people make fun of them because of that. We see kids with nasal deformities, they may have an ethnic nose which results in people picking on them.” He says there’s a big difference between wanting surgery and needing it.
“You have to look at each case on an individual basis,” Bruneteasu says. “If it’s just vanity, then maybe it’s something that you can wait until you’re older and a bit more mature, but if it’s something that’s just totally disrupting your life, then I think it’s a reasonable thing to consider.” Bruneteasu says more children are having expensive procedures done to improve their self-image.
“We get the occasional kid who has a pretty significant nasal deformity and is very bothered by it and maybe has been subject to teasing by his peers or maybe physical bullying,” he says. “In those kinds of situations, we consider everybody on a case-by-case basis and in some parts of the country, like New York City, it’s very common. They do a lot of teenage rhinoplasties.”
Bruneteasu says the most common procedure performed on a child is to fix prominent ears and that’s usually done at age five.