PARENTS
05/06/2015 06:49 BST | Updated 04/06/2016 06:59 BST

A Boy Born With No Ears Feels ' Weird But Great' After Having A Pair Created From His Own Ribs

A boy born without any ears has had a new pair of lobes created from his own ribs.

Kieran Sorkin, 9, was born deaf and also had a rare condition which meant he did not have fully-formed ears - only small lobes where his ears should be.

But last August, experts at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London performed a six-hour operation where they used cartilage from his ribs to create a pair of ears and grafted them to his head.

Today, after his follow-up appointment and with fully-healed ears, Sorkin said: "Before the operations I thought I might get elephant ears or mouse ears, but I've got my mum's ears.

"It's weird but I feel great."

kieran ear

The surgeon, Neil Bulstrode, used an outline of Kieran's mother, Louise Sorkin's, ears as a "family template'' to make his lobes as close as possible to the shape that he might otherwise have had.

At Kieran's follow-up appointment, his dreams also came true when his surgeon said the ears had healed sufficiently for Kieran to sport sunglasses just in time for summer.

The nine-year-old added: "Mr Bulstrode is the best surgeon as he made my wishes come true - I've got ears and can wear sunglasses."

While the procedure was primarily cosmetic, thanks to several previous operations and a hearing aid, Kieran has gradually been able to hear.

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Kieran was born with bilateral microtia - which affects just one in 100,000 babies - a congenital deformity where the external ear is underdeveloped.

He struggled at his first school because he looked different to the other children but his new ears have already given a "huge" boost to his confidence.

He had spoken of having ear surgery since the age of six after he saw a TV programme about it.

Nursery school teacher Mrs Sorkin, 39, said: "Kieran has been very brave throughout this journey and the results today are overwhelming.

"We know we all made the right decision with Kieran to go ahead with surgery, it's already made such a huge difference to his self-esteem and confidence."

During Kieran's first operation, medics harvested the rib cartilage from both sides of his chest and then carved and shaped it into frameworks for ears.

They then grafted the ears onto Kieran's head under pockets of skin and used a vacuum to shape the skin to the contours of the new ear.

During a follow-up operation in February his new ears were lifted away from the sides of his head and two further pieces of cartilage from his ribs were used like wedges to push the ears forwards into the correct position.

They were then covered with a skin graft taken from his scalp.

The GOSH consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Bulstrode, said: "I'm very pleased with the shape and definition of the ears, but for me the most important thing is the way this has made Kieran feel and how pleased he and his family are."

GOSH performs more ear reconstructions than any other hospital in the UK, including between 35 and 40 total reconstructions each year, five of which are bilateral reconstructions (both sides) like Kieran's.

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