CHENNAI: The nine-year-old boy from Seychelles now can wear goggles and use his ear phones, thanks to doctors at Balaji Dental and Craniofacial Hospital, who reconstructed his earlobe. Nathan, the little boy, started becoming psychologically depressed after his friends at primary school started making fun of him, because he and he did not have normal ears like others. He lacked the external portion of his right ear from his birth.
“Though his hearing capacity was normal, we decided to go for a surgery as he started worrying about his condition. Since there was no other option in our country for such a reconstructive surgery, we opted for this hospital in Chennai,” said Natalie, mother of Nathan. According to doctor S M Balaji, hospital director and maxillofacial surgeon, one in 4,000 people are born with this condition and this genetic disorder.
“I took one of the own ribs of the boy and used it to graft his earlobe. The surgery was done in two stages. I used the boy’s own rib as artificial materials can lead to inherent problems like infection, allergy and lose of stability over time. The first stage was called cartilage banking surgery. The skin of the right ear was raised and the rib was placed under it, so the ear shape was achieved,” explained Balaji.
He added that after three months the second stage was performed. “If needed, one more surgery will be done after the boy grows up,” Balaji said. Though the hospital has done such surgeries earlier, Nathan is the youngest patient to undergo such a reconstruction surgery at the hospital, according to the doctor.