A boy born without ears has fulfilled his simple wish to be able to wear a pair of sunglasses for the first time after having a new pair of ears created from his own ribs.
Nine-year-old Kieran Sorkin was born deaf and had a rare condition that meant he did not have fully formed ears, only small lobes.
But last August, experts at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) 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.
Yesterday, his dreams came true when lead surgeon Neil Bulstrode said the ears had healed sufficiently for Kieran to sport sunglasses.
Mr Bulstrode used an outline of mum Louise Sorkin’s ears as a “family template’’ to make them as close as possible to the shape Kieran might have had.
“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,” said Kieran, from Bushey, Hertfordshire.
“Mr Bulstrode is the best surgeon as he made my wishes come true – I’ve got ears and can wear sunglasses.”
While the latest procedure was primarily cosmetic, thanks to several previous operations and a hearing aid Kieran has gradually been able to hear.
“Kieran has been very brave throughout this journey and the results today are overwhelming,” said his mum.
“It’s already made such a huge difference to his self-esteem and confidence.”
Kieran was born with bilateral microtia, a congenital deformity where the external ear is underdeveloped.
During the operation, medics harvested the rib cartilage from both sides of Kieran’s chest and then carved and shaped it into frameworks for ears.
They then grafted the ears on to Kieran’s head under pockets of skin.