In a series of “miraculous” surgeries, an Indian-origin doctor in the US has successfully grown outer ears of an eight-year-old who was born with a defect that left his ears underdeveloped, reports Asian Age.
The boy, Elijah Bell, who hails from Ohio had a rare birth defect called bilateral atresia microtia, in which his ears had no openings to the middle and inner ear.
He was able to hear but, without developed ears to funnel and direct sound, needed hearing aids to transmit sound waves into his skull. He also required speech therapy to help him communicate fully.
Now, he has two box-like hearing aids placed just above his ears which help him hear better and has also boosted his confidence.
Dr Ananth Murthy, director of plastic surgery at Akron Children’s Hospital, crafted his new outer ears from a cartilage taken from the boy’s ribs.
The cartilage was placed under the skin along his hairline. As the tissue developed, the doctors were able to shape the ears by moulding cutouts and forming grooves in the tissue. In a statement, Dr Murthy, said:
“This defect affects about 1 in 50,000 people. By the time you are 6 to 8 years old, your ears are pretty much full grown. Doing the surgeries at that age allows these kids to start their school careers with normal ears.”
His mother, Colleen Bell, said:
“He loves them; he’s really proud of them and shows his ears off to everyone. It’s strange to people that he’s showing off his ears. We consider it to be a miracle in our family.”