Cosmetic plastic surgeons — and especially facial plastic surgeons – often concern themselves with ears, or at least the appearance of ears.
One of the basic procedures taught during the four to seven year surgical training period virtually all board-certified plastic surgeons receive is Otoplasty, the ear surgery procedure that pins protruding ears closer to the head.
(Learn more about the ear surgery, Otoplasty.)
Due to constant teasing and ridiculing, educators, psychologists and others in the know about early education, recommend that children with large, protruding ears have them pinned back in cosmetic ear surgery before starting school.
But what if the child has no ears at all? That’s a medical condition known as microtia. Such was the case for nine-year-old Kieran Sorkin in London who was one of approximately 100 children born in England each year without one or both ears. In the United States, microtia happens in one in 5,000-7,000 births. Usually, the child is born deaf and has only small ear lobes on the sides of the head.
Many such children have a hearing aid implanted before receiving actual ears during ear surgery…which begs the question: where do the ears come from?
In some cases of ear surgery, donated cartilage from ribs or other sections of the body are carved by plastic surgeons into the shape and framework of an ear or ears.
Some cosmetic plastic surgeons then bury the bony ear framework in other sections of the body during ear surgery.
(See some cosmetic surgeon-created ears buried in patient’s forearms.)
In England, the plastic surgeon took a stencil of the mother’s ear before the lad’s ear surgery. Then Kieran went under the knife to surrender cartilage from six ribs. That cartilage was then shaped into ears and put into pockets of skin somewhere in the body to mature before implantation in ear surgery.
The ear does not actually function, but is strictly cosmetic. Nonetheless, the child now looks like his young pals and is asked no questions about missing ears.
The next challenge: take stem cells from patients’ fat and grow ear frames for later ear surgery.