7 Year Old Samatha Shaw's Plastic Surgery Story
7 Year Old Samantha Shaw's Plastic Surgery Story
Cute little girls shouldn’t have to avoid mirrors. But for seven year-old Samantha Shaw, her reflection wouldn’t bring a smile to her freckled face; it only brought sadness to her heart.
Instead of seeing beauty staring back at her, the first grader could only focus on her ears.
Plastic surgeon, Dr. Steven Pearlman, who is part of the locateadoc.com doctors network, took one look at Sam and called it a congenital deformity (See pictures). But all Sam knew was that they both stuck out too far and her right ear was folded over--and kids made fun of her.
That was enough for Sam’s mother to take her from South Dakota to Pearlman out in New York City. “She was just the happiest little girl,” Dr. Steven Pearlman said. “But when she would stand in front of the mirror and look at herself, she would instantly frown.” Pearlman, performed the surgery that Sam hopes will transform her self-image. The procedure involved pinning both ears back and removing a portion of the one that folded over.
It also sparked some controversy. Some people questioned the decision to perform plastic surgery on such a young girl. However, concerns over damage to her self-esteem caused by teasing and the possibility it would lead to bullying were enough for doctors to perform the operation.“People are doing a knee-jerk reaction to plastic surgery on a child,” Pearlman said. “You can’t lump all of plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery together. There’s a difference.”
According to the American Society for Plastic Surgery, the number of children having cosmetic surgery in the United States has jumped 30 percent over the past ten years.
However, in Sam’s case, where her condition made her shy and self-conscious and had the potential for even more serious psychological harm, doctors deemed the procedure more corrective than cosmetic. Pearlman made a comparison to the repair of a cleft palate.
The operation was made possible by the Little Baby Face Foundation, which funds surgery for abnormalities in children. Since Pearlman is a friend of the group’s founder, he
often performs pro bono surgeries, so little girls like Sam can enjoy being little girls.
“Now, the first thing she wants to do when she gets home is get her ears pierced,” Pearlman said.
Click here to see more ear surgery pictures including some of other children.