For Dr Ananth Murthy, it was a tedious surgery, a challenge and competence but for the mother of the 8-year-old recipient, it was a ‘miracle’.
The boy, Elijah Bell, was born with under-developed ears, called bilateral atresia microtia, a rare birth defect that affects one in three lakhs. The boy, a second-grade student at Frazer Elementary in Canton, Ohio, had no openings to the middle and inner ear.
Dr Murthy, a plastic surgeon at Akron Children’s Hospital in canton, Ohio, it was a challenge as Elijah’s middle and inner ear were normal but without an opening. Sound could not enter his inner ear and he had to wear a bone-anchored hearing aid.
— Children’s Hospital (@AkronChildrens) August 23, 2015
It took 4 years for the surgeon to conduct five operations over the period to let Elijah’s inner ear open up and also fix an ear developed from the other body parts of the boy.
Dr Murthy began harvesting cartilage to create the ears, used skin graft from Elijah’s thigh to create a gap between his ears and his head. Later, he went into the nitty-gritties of creating curves or ‘hills and vallyes’ of the oute ear. The entire process took meticulous four-years of planning and artistic procedure for the doctor.
With the final surgery in July, Murthy was able to give new ears to Elijah’s ears detailed “hills and valleys”, said reports. “The body naturally wants to smooth everything out as it heals, so we always have to go back a couple of times to help create the natural curves of an ear,” Murthy told CantonRep.com. “It is an artistic procedure,” explained Dr Murthy, director of plastic surgery at a hospital in the US.
The boy’s mother was upbeat. “We consider it to be a miracle in our family,” said Colleen Bell. “The changes we’ve seen in Elijah are really remarkable…He loves his ears. He’s very, very, very proud of them,” add the mother.