Some Teens Look to Cosmetic Surgery to Combat Bullying

A recent Good Morning America segment looked at how some teens are considering cosmetic surgery in order to stop teasing and bullying they endure because of their appearance.

One teen featured was high school senior Erica Morgo, who says she was bullied by her classmates in middle school because of her nose. “They would call me Pinocchio. And in school, in class, people would point it out. I felt helpless. I felt like a loser,” she said.

Her mother, Dana Manzella, allowed Erica to undergo rhinoplasty at age 15.

“I think that was definitely a good decision, because it brought her back — her self-esteem back up to be able to do activities that she did before, with comfort,” Manzella said.

Good Morning America said that nearly 90,000 teenagers had cosmetic surgery in 2007, and that doctors say the numbers are growing.

“I do see a fair amount of parents coming in with their child because of bullying and teasing and feelings of self-consciousness,” said cosmetic surgeon Dr. Michael Fiorillo. “My preference is, of course, to work out the issues first, the bullying, the teasing. But there are certain situations where people are mature enough. And surgery is a final resort.”

Nose jobs, breast reductions, breast augmentations and ear tucks are some of the more popular cosmetic surgeries for teenagers.

Michelle Martin, another teen featured in the segment, got a breast augmentation at age 19, after years of being teased for having a small chest.

She said while the recovery from surgery was painful, it was a small price to pay to make up for the scars left by years of teasing and feelings of inadequacy. She said she “absolutely” feels prettier.

“This was just something to make me feel better. To make me happy. To make me feel like a beautiful woman,” said Martin.