St Albans schoolboy’s ear reconstruction

Nine-year-old St Albans schoolboy Kieran Sorkin, with his parents Louise and David, and sister Mia,

Nine-year-old St Albans schoolboy Kieran Sorkin, with his parents Louise and David, and sister Mia, after his ear operation - Credit: Photo supplied

From India to New Zealand, a plucky St Albans schoolboy has become a media sensation after a surgeon gave him a double ear reconstruction, made from the lad’s ribs.

Nine-year-old Kieran Sorkin, a Year 5 pupil at Maple Primary School, has hit the headlines worldwide after undergoing a major operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) which has resulted in him having ears for the first time.

The boy exclaimed “Wow!” upon recovering from the six-hour operation on August 5 and seeing his new ears.

Kieran was born with bilateral microtia, which affects just one in 100,000 babies, and meant neither of his ears had properly formed.

GOSH consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Mr Neil Bustrode, one of only a handful of clinicians worldwide to carry out double ear reconstructions, began the procedure by harvesting rib cartilage from both sides of Kieran’s chest.

These were then carefully carved and shaped into frameworks for Kieran’s new ears.

In designing them, he used an outline of the boy’s mum Louise’s ears as a ‘family template’ to make them as close as possible to the ear shape that Kieran might otherwise have inherited.

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Mr Bulstrode then grafted the ear frameworks onto either side of the boy’s head – Kieran has previously undergone a separate series of operations to improve his hearing.

The surgeon said that this type of reconstruction brought about a ”significant improvement in quality of life for children with microtia”, including greater confidence.

Louise told the Herts Advertiser yesterday (Wednesday) that Kieran, currently recovering at the family’s Bushey home, was coping “really well” with his operation and the recent flurry of media attention, despite being “shy” at times.

She said he was “taking it slowly” as his scars were at times painful.

Since starting at Maple Primary a year ago, Kieran has received invaluable support from the school’s deaf unit and made many friends, who attended his ninth birthday party.

Louise explained that Kieran had changed schools as he had been “lagging behind in his previous school, and falling behind his peers”.

She praised the Jewish Deaf Association, a charity which has helped Kieran “since he was a baby”.

Louise said: “They almost adopted us as their family, and have been very supportive.”

In six months’ time Kieran will undergo a follow-up operation, which will involve placing a small skin graft behind each ear to help push them out slightly further from the boy’s head.