A leading plastic surgeon of the UK has come under fire for offering a range of cosmetic surgeries to school girls under various pretexts.
Douglas McGeorge, the president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, claimed that he reshaped the nose of a teenager who was bullied no end and was in depths of despair.
AdvertisementHe said the girl's allowed her have the procedure, known as rhinoplasty, after she was targeted over her appearance at three schools.
But he insisted that the procedure, costing around Ģ4,000, had transformed her life after years of extreme bullying.
The surgeon, who helps train doctors in cosmetic surgery, said the girl's life had been transformed since the operation.
He added: 'This was an unusual case but the parents had been through every other option available before taking the decision.
'She was starting a new school at Christmas and wanted to fit in. I bumped into her later on holiday and she was very confident. Her hair was tied back whereas before her hair was hanging down over her face."
Although it was the only case in which McGeorge, a consultant plastic surgeon at the Grosvenor Nuffield Hospital in Chester, had agreed to reshape a child's nose, he also offered expandible breast implants to girls with a rare form of developmental disorder while operations to pin back children's ears or straighten their teeth were common.
He explained that young people develop at different rates in puberty, meaning some were singled out by bullies. Under the procedure, doctors insert an implant which helps to expand the chest tissue gradually.
As for the nose-reshaping, he said: "This girl had left schools because of the bullying, had been counselled for it and at the end of the day came along to me to see whether surgery would improve the appearance of her nose ... It has had an amazingly positive result for her."
He added: "This is an example of a child where an aesthetic procedure has had a benefit, but it is not something that is offered as a first-line treatment, it is almost a procedure of last resort on a youngster but it can have a positive benefit for them."
McGeorge went on to assert that such procedures were not necessarily born out of vanity, The bullying problem in school was very real and grave.
He said: "You think about children whose ears stick out, it's the same thing. Children are very cruel and there's a lot of stigma attached to appearance."
But many clinics will not operate on anyone under the age of 18 although children can have any medical treatment with the consent of their parents.
Liz Carnell, director of the on-line advice service Bullying UK said: "It is giving in to bullies, if you have to change something about yourself because people are making remarks about you, you are giving in to their views.
"I think it is very hard for parents and children to say to themselves that there are perhaps better ways of dealing with this and one of those is to force the school to take action against the bullies."
Diana Sutton, head of Policy at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC ) said: "As this shows bullying can drive children to desperate measures and it starkly highlights the need for Government, schools and parents to work together to tackle the issue."