What to Read Next

Bullied Teen, Nadia Ilse, Receives Free Plastic Surgery From Charity

Jordana Divon
Team Mom
July 31, 2012

Bullying has always been a middle school nightmare. If you were one of the lucky ones who managed to escape, you belong to a rare and fortunate minority.

But with the recent media emphasis on bullying these days, and the heartbreaking spate of suicides from tormented students who can no longer cope, there's a troubling sense that it's moved from an adolescent rite of passage to a problem where the stakes are too high.

Nadia Ilse could tell you all about what it feels like to be bullied. The 14-year-old Georgia student has been taunted over her physical appearance since the first grade.

"There was this girl, she came up to me and says, 'You have the biggest ears I've ever seen.' And I was speechless, because I didn't think about it until she said that," she tells CNN's Sanjay Gupta.

The taunts about her looks continued, until Nadia started begging her mother for surgery to pin her ears back. She was 10.

Also see: Are Kids Getting Meaner? Video of Karen The Bus Monitor Raises Questions

Distraught by her daughter's growing despondency, Nadia's mother contacted the Little Baby Face Foundation, a charity that provides free plastic surgery to children with facial deformities or those who have been bullied for their physical features.

The organization flew Nadia and her mother to New York City where plastic surgeon — and charity president — Dr. Thomas Romo III, decided the teen needed more than just otoplasty, the pinning back of her ears.

Video of Nadia's consultation shows Romo encouraging the teen to square out her "pointy" chin and allow him to perform a reduction rhinoplasty to straighten out her nose and "balance out" her features.

Desperate to look good, Nadia agrees to the $40,000 worth of plastic surgery.

The American Association of Plastic Surgeons reports that the number of teens seeking out cosmetic procedures has doubled in the last decade. In 2010 alone, doctors performed 219,000 surgeries on teens between the ages of 13 and 19.

Though no Canadian statistics are available, doctors say the figures match north of the border as well.

"The number of teens I treat has definitely doubled over the last 10 years," Toronto cosmetic surgeon Oakley Smith tells the Globe and Mail.

Also see: Spanking Linked to Mental Illness, Says Study


While charities like the Little Baby Face Foundation may have good intentions, Nadia's story dredges up a few unsettling issues.

There's no doubt that Nadia felt less prominent ears would stop her peers from mockery, and maybe it will. But by encouraging her to change her nose and chin — features she hadn't even brought up as problematic — Romo might be perpetuating the idea that the victims should be the ones who change themselves, while the bullies might feel vindicated by their cruelty.

And with all the coverage Nadia's ordeal has received, she may have just traded her old line of bullying for a brand new one.

What do you think? Is plastic surgery the answer to offset teen bullying, or is it equally problematic?

Watch the video below about a mom leading the charge to get companies to develop pediatric cancer drugs.

An Overlooked Method To Pay Off Your Credit Card

If you're paying credit card interest, you could save hundreds or thousands of dollars by transferring your balance to this no-fee card.

Men: Tighter Looking Skin In One Easy Step

How older men tighten their skin and reduce the look of wrinkles without cosmetic procedures.

Do NOT pay your insurance until you try this.

If you drive less than 55 miles/day OR have no DUI's you can get auto insurance for as low as $29/ Month! See if you qualify.

Drivers With No Tickets In 3 Years Must Read This

If you drive less than 50 miles per day, there is a way to pay less for auto insurance that few people realize. Are you overpaying?

Starwood Credit Card

Earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints®! Use toward Award Nights or Flights.

Insane Navy Seal Flashlight, should it be banned?

The Military has recently released technology that is now available to the public. Get yours before they run out - Limited Supply!

Buying Medigap Plan F? Read This First

Plan F is the most popular Medicare Supplement plan, but there's another Medigap option you should consider.

Kid sleep troubles email series for moms

We get it. We’ve been there. Sign up for our email track to learn how to handle kids who won’t go to sleep or won’t stay in bed.

Federal Stimulus: Mortage Payments Are Cut in Half

Don't make your next mortgage payment until you read this! If you're over 45 years old, you could save $4,000 a year. (It's not what you think!)

Military Mortgage Rates In 2016

Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

Play Bingo & Make Friends On Classmates®!

With games, a reunion center and countless yearbooks to browse, you'll find hours of endless fun on Classmates®!

How Older Men Tighten Their Skin

Men, reduce the look of wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines with this affordable and effective skin tightening treatment without leaving your home.

Join Disney Movie Club Today

Get 4 Disney Movies For $1 With Membership. See Details. Plus, Free Shipping On Your Initial Order!