Boy has ears created from ribs

Surgeons from London's Great Ormond Street Hospital used cartilage from a nine-year-old boy’s ribs to construct ears for him. Kieran Sorkin was born deaf and without ears. He had already received a hearing aid implant, but wanted to complete his transformation so he would stop getting bullied.

Surgeons extracted cartilage from six of Sorkin’s ribs. They were cut, shaped, and sewn to resemble the shape of an ear. Then they were then placed into pockets of the skin and suctioned. While the surgery is cosmetic and does not influence hearing, it is has been found to be very successful in boosting people’s confidence and self-esteem.

Scientists say tissue engineering will be used in the near future for this type of reconstructive surgery. Instead of harvesting cartilage from a patient's ribs, they will be able to grow it from stem cells.

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