When most people think of getting cosmetic surgery, they think of adults or at least someone who is 18 or older. However, one Utah family is allowing their 6-year-old son to go under the knife to change his appearance.
Timothy Berger and his wife Kallie Berger said that their son, Gage Berger, was subject to relentless bullying that started at the age of 5 “from kids who called him elf ears.”
The bullying got so bad that their son’s happy, playful and outgoing demeanor began to change to the point where Gage became introverted and dreaded going to school.
“I’d catch him looking in the mirror and trying to pin them back, and when he got nervous or upset or when he was in trouble, he’d physically grab his ears,” Timothy told ABC News.
The Bergers feared that the bullying was starting to take its toll on Gage’s self-esteem.
“I just don’t want to be made fun of,” Gage told Inside Edition when he was just a first grader.
Gage’s parents decided they would look into cosmetic ear pinning surgery to stop the bullying and protect their son’s self-esteem.
“This isn’t any different than taking your child to get braces to ‘fix’ the appearance of crooked teeth,” Timothy told ABC News. “We explained to him the surgery, which is only a short two-hour procedure. He was so excited for it. Obviously, if he wasn’t on board with it, we wouldn’t have touched him. Ultimately, we told him it was up to him.”
With Gage on board for surgery, the Berger’s enlisted the help of Dr. Steven Mobley a plastic surgeon who also had ear-pinning surgery at the age of 19 and was also made fun of as a child.
Mobley made it clear that he isn’t endorsing cosmetic surgery for children but says that it’s a personal and private decision a family needs to make together.
“I get a lot of patients with big ears, and some of them decide they like their ears and they have the strength and resilience to stand up to bullies,” he explained. “But I also have other patients who are just crushed, and they shouldn’t be shamed for wanting a procedure that helps them gain back their confidence.”
Gage was nervous before his surgery and brought along his stuffed tiger who he said was also having surgery.
That nervousness turned to excitement when it was time to take off his bandages and see his new ears.
“Oh my gosh!” he exclaimed with a giant smile on his face.
And just like that, Gage’s entire demeanor was transformed. Gage’s parents say that Gage went “back to his old self again” after surgery and “couldn’t be any happier.”
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