Doctors fashion ears from boy's ribs

By Ella Pickover

Louise Sorkin, left, provided the model for son Kieran Sorkin's new ears.
Louise Sorkin, left, provided the model for son Kieran Sorkin's new ears.

A boy who was born without ears has had a pair created from his own ribs.

Not many 9-year-olds desire to have a "big pair of ears", but before the operation, it was Kieran Sorkin's greatest wish.

Last week, experts at Great Ormond St Hospital in Britain performed a six-hour operation in which they used cartilage from his ribs to create a pair of ears and grafted them to his head.

The boy was born deaf and had a rare condition which meant he didn't have fully formed ears - just small lobes where his ears should be.

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's still about 90 per cent deaf, but when using his aids he can "hear the wind blow and the birds tweet", his father, David Sorkin, said.

Kieran, from Bushey, Hertfordshire, struggled at his first school because he looked different. Sorkin said the operation would boost his son's confidence "no end".

The 44-year-old IT manager said: "Kieran has talked about having ear surgery ever since the age of 6, when he saw a TV programme about it."

Kieran was born with bilateral microtia which affects just one in 100,000 babies, a congenital deformity where the external ear is underdeveloped. In the operation, plastic surgeon Neil Bulstrode harvested rib cartilage from both sides of Kieran's chest then shaped it into frameworks for Kieran's ears. He used an outline of Kieran's mother's ears as a "family template".

He grafted the ears on to Kieran under pockets of skin and used a vacuum to shape the skin to the contours.

- Independent

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