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Virginia girl goes under the knife to face off against bullying

Before and after photos. When Bella was a baby, her mother said she had one ear that stuck out more than the other and kids were being mean, saying different things, so she got cosmetic surgery to correct it (Photo: CNN Newsource via WRIC)

RICHMOND, Va. (WSET) -- You've heard of programs to stop bullying, but what about kids going under the knife to combat the issue?

Sabrina Harrington said her daughter, Bella, was being teased over her ears.

"They were teasing her over it. one thing they said she had elf ears," she said.

When Bella was a baby, Sabrina said she had one ear that stuck out more than the other and kids were being mean, saying different things.

"They would always like point it out, but then the more people pointed it out is when I wanted to change it," Bella said. "I thought that they stuck out way too much."

Bella isn't alone, Dr. Joe Niamtu told WRIC in Richmond that about five percent of the population has protruding ears and many of his younger patients are getting pediatric cosmetic surgery due to the issue.

Dr. Niamtu said when it comes to correcting an issue that's prompting bullying, the younger the patient, the better.

"We like to treat these children before they enter school, so it's not uncommon that I'm doing four or five-year-olds," he said. "And the reason is bullying, or peer pressure, it's been shown to psychologically have the ability to affect their self esteem or body image for the rest of their life."

The Harrington's said they waited several years before making the decision.

It's been two months since the surgery and Bell said it's made all the difference.

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