1. ITV Report

Boy born without ears has pair made from his ribs

Kieran Sorkin's new ears are made from cartilage from his ribs Photo: PA

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

Experts at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London performed a six-hour operation where they used cartilage from Kieran Sorkin's ribs to create a pair of ears and grafted them to his head.

The nine-year-old was born deaf and also had a rare condition which meant he did not have fully formed ears - just small lobes where his ears should be.

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

He is still around 90% deaf, but when using hearing aids he can "hear the wind blow and the birds tweet", his father David Sorkin said.

Kieran struggled at his first school because he looked different to the other children. Mr Sorkin said that the operation will boost the youngster's confidence "no end".

Kieran and his father before he received his new ears Credit: PA

Before the surgery, Kieran said: "I've always wanted big ears, and now I'm finally going to have them."

Following the procedure his parents helped him to take a photograph of his newly crafted ear, or a "side selfie", to which he simply replied: "Wow". Mr Sorkin said that he and his wife Louise were over the moon with the outcome.

"We're absolutely on cloud nine. We could not have wished for a better result. "They look like normal ears, he had nothing but has got proper sized ears now and they cover the gap where ears should have been. They look normal bar a couple of sewing marks which will go away in time."

– David Sorkin, Kieran's father
Kieran's Credit: PA

Mr Sorkin also said that the family were unsure about whether to change the features Kieran was born with, but ultimately the decision was Kieran's. He added that it had made school life difficult.

"He had problems at school in that he didn't gel very well in the groups because he looked different to other kids and he only had one or two friends at his previous school. He has now moved to a different school now and they have a deaf unit in every year so they are a little bit more receptive to deafness and to a child looking different. But this will boost his confidence no end."

– David Sorkin, Kieran's father

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

During the six hour operation consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon Neil Bulstrode, harvested the rib cartilage from both sides of Kieran's chest and then carved and shaped it into frameworks for Kieran's ears. When designing them he used an outline of Mrs Sorkin's ears as a "family template" to make them as close as possible to the ear shape that the youngster might otherwise have had.

"It's a major operation but it brings a significant improvement in quality of life for children with microtia. Their confidence improves exponentially and their performance at school improves. If you can improve a young person's confidence, you can alter their whole trajectory in life."

– eil Bulstrode, onsultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon
Kieran and his family after his operation Credit: PA