Finchley group helps boy born without ears

Kieran in hospital after having his new ears created

Kieran in hospital after having his new ears created

First published in News
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A nine-year-old boy born without ears had a pair made for him using tissue from his own ribs. 

Kieran Sorkin, who is supported by the Jewish Death Association, in Woodside Road, North Finchley, was born with bilateral microtia, which affects just one in 100,000 babies and meant neither of his ears formed properly.

Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital spent more than six hours operating on Kieran, using his own rib cartilage to form his ears. 

Specialists used the shape of his 38-year-old mother Louise’s ear to draw the outline of what his would look like. His father, David Sorkin, said the operation will be life-changing for Kieran, whose confidence was greatly affected by the condition. 

The 44-year-old IT manager said: "He looked different to other kids and he speaks slightly differently to other kids, too.  

"His confidence was affected as he can’t necessarily hear when other kids talk, as sometimes children don’t speak that well.

"If he can’t hear them and understand them he doesn’t have the confidence to play with them. Very early on we were conscious he was not playing well in larger groups.  

"It was hard for him, but he is doing quite well now. We think he is a happy chappy and fairly confident about his condition. We don’t want him to be considered to be any different to any other children." 

Great Ormond Street Hospital consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon Neil Bulstrode carried out Kieran’s operation last Tuesday.

He is one of only a handful of clinicians worldwide to carry out ear reconstructions.

Mr Bulstrode said: "Bilateral reconstructions are sometimes done one at a time, but for Kieran we have created both of his new ears at the same time.

"This allows us to ensure the ears are balanced and achieve the best result." 

Kieran has already undergone a separate series of operations to improve his hearing, and while the ear reconstruction is primarily a cosmetic procedure, Mr Bulstrode said it stood to bring enormous benefits to Kieran.

 "It’s a major operation but it brings a significant improvement in quality of life for children with microtia," he said. 

"Their confidence improves and their performance at school improves." 

Kieran, a pupil at Maple Primary School, in St Albans, has two siblings, 11-year-old Mia and six-month-old Zac. 

His family were unaware of the rare condition until Kieran was born. 

Mr Sorkin said: "Early on we didn’t have a clue about it. Just like anyone you try to do the best for your children.  

"He is 90 per cent deaf without his hearing aid. Only if you yell at him can he hear you - like any nine-year-old. 

"This procedure won’t help his hearing but it will help with his confidence." 

Kieran will have a follow up operation in six months, which will involve placing a small skin graft behind each ear to help push it out slightly further from his head.

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