UK boy born without ears has pair created from his own ribs
Experts at the world renowned Great Ormond Street Hospital performed a six-hour operation last week where they used cartilage from Kieran Sorkin's ribs to create a pair of ears and grafted them to his head.world Updated: Aug 12, 2014 15:51 IST
In a pioneering medical procedure, a nine-year-old boy in the UK who was born without any ears has had a pair created from his own ribs.
Kieran Sorkin, from Hertfordshire, was born deaf and also had a rare condition which meant he did not have fully-formed ears - just small lobes where his ears should be.
Experts at the world renowned Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) performed a six-hour operation last week where they used cartilage from his ribs to create a pair of ears and grafted them to his head.
The procedure was primarily cosmetic but, thanks to several previous operations and a hearing aid, Kieran has gradually been able to hear.
Without help, he is still about 90 per cent deaf, but, when using hearing aids, he could "hear the wind blow and the birds tweet", David Sorkin, his father, was quoted as saying by the Press Association.
Before the surgery, Kieran was quoted as saying: "I've always wanted big ears, and now I'm finally going to have them."
Following the procedure his parents helped him to take a photograph of his newly crafted ear, or a "side selfie".
Kieran's father said he and his wife, Louise, were "on cloud nine" after the procedure. "We could not have wished for a better result," he said.
Kieran struggled at his first school because he looked different to the other children. He has since moved to a school with a deafness unit in every year group.
"They are a little bit more receptive to deafness and to a child looking different. But this will boost his confidence no end," his father said.
Kieran was born with bilateral microtia, a congenital deformity where the external ear is underdeveloped. It affects one in 100,000 babies.
Medics, led by Neil Bulstrode, GOSH consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon, turned his fortunes around.
During the six-hour operation Bulstrode harvested the rib cartilage from both sides of Kieran's chest and then carved and shaped it into frameworks for Kieran's ears.
A hospital spokeswoman said that researchers were working with the University College London Institute for Child Health to try and perform ear reconstructions for children like Kieran by growing new ear frameworks and other skeletal structures from a child's own stem cells.