Advanced search

to think surgery on children with Down's syndrome is utterly hideous?

(63 Posts)
pyjamarama Thu 30-Oct-08 11:48:00

At a recent seminar I learnt that certain surgeons in the States (isn't it always) are performing facial surgery ie. tongue reduction, jaw set back, eye surgery to make eyes less "mongoloid". All this in order that the children look more "normal" and so are less likely to be bullied, therefore be happier in the long run. AIBU to thinkthat firstly this in no way justifies painful and risky surgery; and secondly bullies would still pick on the\child as they would still be different? Has anyone any experience of this? Particularly in the UK?

Ivvvvyygootscaaared444 Thu 30-Oct-08 11:50:54

I heard of this some 20 years ago in the uk, a girl was being bullyed and her mother arranged for facial surgery.


Mum2OliverJames Thu 30-Oct-08 11:52:27

i personally think that downs syndrome kids look adorable so i dont think that it is necessary, and i think that if someone, anyone, wants plastic surgery it should be their own choice, not someone elses!

pyjamarama Thu 30-Oct-08 11:54:33

was this in the media or did you know them personally?

Simplysally Thu 30-Oct-08 11:55:17

If it's for asthethic reasons only then I'd say no unless the child themselves had requested it and had been properly assessed, were of an age to decide for themselves.

If it was to ease breathing or eating difficulties then it could be a different matter.

memoo Thu 30-Oct-08 11:55:46

I understand your point that society should accept a person no matter how they look and I agree with you on that point.

But then take off our rose tinted glasses, children can be very cruel and if the suregery helps the child then I think its worth considering.

So sorry but YABU, but your heart is in the right place

pyjamarama Thu 30-Oct-08 11:57:26

SS I agree surgery for functional reasons is justified. But for purely aesthetic reasons, on a child?

Anna8888 Thu 30-Oct-08 11:57:31

This has gone on for ages in lots of countries, including the UK.

There are good reasons for lots of surgery, especially tongue reduction which can making speaking, eating etc easier. I really think it is up to the individuals concerned and no business whatsoever of anyone else's. Though I have heard that some families have regretted surgery for DS as when people with DS look more "normal", the population at large is less inclined to make allowances for unusual behaviour.

WorzselMummage Thu 30-Oct-08 11:57:35

It depends on the case really.

Surgery for purely cosmetic reasons is a ethical minefield but surgery which will improve the quality of life can only be good surely and i am sure that some 'cosmetic' surgery would improve the quality of life considerably, i'm sure it woudlnt be an easy decision for anyone, least of all a parent.

Tongue surgery on children with downs isnt only to make them appear nor 'normal' either.

pyjamarama Thu 30-Oct-08 12:00:27

memoo surely surgery won't hide the fact that the child has learning difficulties, making them vunerable to bullies anyway?

pyjamarama Thu 30-Oct-08 12:06:31

I have to admit ignorance.. do the large tongues that tend to be associated with Down's syndrome cause such a problem that surgery is risked?
Tongue surgery can be particularly dangerous, and nerve damage can easily result in numbness.

suncream Thu 30-Oct-08 12:11:33


I think that the comments already posted show how we are so obsessed as a society with appearance, to think that purely cosmetic procedures on children are acceptable.

My db has DS, & I would have been absolutely horrified to find that our parents had put him through that, esp as any bullying that happened was down to his anti-social behaviour...

needmorecoffee Thu 30-Oct-08 12:13:58

I have refused 'normalisation' surgery for dd - they wanted to make her hands look less 'spastic'.

geekgirl Thu 30-Oct-08 12:13:58

I don't think anyone actually does this tbh. I have a 7 year old dd with DS and tend to chat a lot about DS with other parents of children with DS from far and wide across the globe. I've never come across anyone having cosmetic surgery done on their child. There's one tongue reduction case I know of, and that was certainly a medical necessity - the little chap had such a big tongue, he couldn't fit it into his mouth never mind talk, and had already bitten through it several times.

Really don't think this happens.

chequersandchess Thu 30-Oct-08 12:15:40

It's the kind of thing I really wouldn't comment on unless I had been in the shoes of a parent whose child has DS.

TheFallenMadonna Thu 30-Oct-08 12:15:55

One of the children on the Channel 4 programme about children with various SN (I've forgotten what it's called) had a tongue reduction. IIRC it was to help improve his speech. And his parents agonised over it.

geekgirl Thu 30-Oct-08 12:16:41

(and just to clarify - most children with DS don't have big tongues. None of the children I know personally have big tongues or tongues that protrude. The protrusion often seen in older people with DS is usually due to poor speech therapy available when they were young, and to untreated colds etc.)

geekgirl Thu 30-Oct-08 12:18:15

I would never change dd2's looks. She is gorgeous, she really is.
I would take the learning disability away if I could but many parents say they wouldn't.

jellybeans Thu 30-Oct-08 12:19:14

I have heard that some people claim surgery is not just 'cosmetic' if it is, for example, to correct a large squint, is it merely cosmetic or moving an eye from an abnormal position to a normal position. It's difficult. I feel uneasy about surgery in cases of DS if it is to try to disguise the condition. We should be encouraging more acceptance of variation.

kormAaaarrrggghhhchameleon Thu 30-Oct-08 12:20:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Grammaticus Thu 30-Oct-08 12:21:26

needmorecoffee - would the surgery have made your DDs hands work differently or just look different?

nailpolish Thu 30-Oct-08 12:21:28

i think if you take the Downs syndrome aspect out of it - a child is getting bullied because if the way they look - do you think surgery is right or wrong? children get bullied for all sorts of reasons to do with looks - if it is minor surgery like prominent ears then i think its ok but major surgery would be wrong IMO
a 15 yr old is getting bullied because she is flat chested - would you consider breast surgery? id hope not

SmugColditz Thu 30-Oct-08 12:21:28

depends if they want it, doesn't it? Children with Down's syndrome are not completely incapable of making a choice, one of my friends had her ears pinned when she was 7, it made her happy because previously she refused to wear her hair back.

worzelgummidge Thu 30-Oct-08 12:22:55

My niece has DS (among other things) but has none of the physical attributes of DS, and I know my sister finds it difficult. As pp said, because "the public" don't make allowances for her unusual behaviour, it can make an already stressful situation even more so.

ewwwmy2shoesarefullofblood Thu 30-Oct-08 12:27:12

I wouldn't judge tbh, each case would be so different.
we are considering putting dd on a drug trial to stop the extra movements she gets.
I would hate to think any one would do it just to "normalise" their dc. but doubt if that would happen.
the toung part is different as it affects eating and speach.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: