A boy born without ears has had a pair created using cartilage from his own ribs.
Nine-year-old Kieran Sorkin underwent a six-hour operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, in which the ears were grafted on to his head.
The schoolboy, from Bushey, Hertfordshire, was born deaf and with bilateral microtia, a congenital deformity where the external ear is underdeveloped.
The condition affects just one in 100,000 babies.
According to his father David Sorkin, Kieran had struggled at his first school because he looked different to the other children.
Mr Sorkin said that he and his wife Louise were delighted with the successful surgery: “We could not have wished for a better result. He had nothing but has got proper sized ears now and they cover the gap where ears should have been. His reaction was just a ‘wow’, he is very happy.
“We’ve had the moral dilemma all along of whether it’s right to change the features that Kieran was born with. But Kieran has talked about having ear surgery ever since the age of six when he saw a TV programme about it.
“It was very important that this was Kieran’s decision, and I think it’s happened at exactly the right time for his development.”
Consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon Neil Bulstrode, who led last week’s surgery, said: “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.”
Thanks to several previous operations and a hearing aid, Kieran has also been gradually able to hear.