A boy who underwent two pioneering operations at the Royal Free to create a new right ear featured on BBC’s The One Show on Friday, 2 December.
Nine-year-old Ethan Giles-Bowman, from Sheffield, was born with a rare condition called Goldenhar Syndrome which results in ‘microtia’ or a very small, deformed ear.
In September 2010, he underwent an intricate six-hour operation at the Royal Free to create a new ear using cartilage from his ribcage. TV cameras captured his story, which aired on The One Show in March this year.
Cameras have continued to follow Ethan’s story and a second film aired on Friday, 2 December on BBC One. The film charted Ethan’s progress since having a follow-up operation in July this year, which involved taking cartilage from his ribs and putting this behind his new ear so it protrudes normally.
It also showed how Ethan has given hope to other people with Goldenhar Syndrome, with Ethan meeting another boy called Byron Boulton, who one day hopes to also undergo the operations.
The Royal Free is one of very few centres in the UK to offer surgery for microtia and is believed to be the largest centre in the UK for ear reconstruction surgery in adults and children. More about our ear reconstruction service >>
Ethan’s mum Kathryn, 34, said: “It’s made such a difference to his life – he’s so much more confident and outgoing. He’ll make an effort to talk to people and make friends now, whereas before he was very shy. I think he just feels more complete.
“We’re very grateful to the Royal Free for the amazing care he has received.”
The surgery was performed by Royal Free consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeons Mr Walid Sabbagh and Mr Greg O’Toole.
Mr O’Toole said: “A lot of patients don’t realise they can have this type of surgery and yet it’s absolutely life-changing. It makes such a difference to people’s lives, as Ethan’s story shows.
“We’re very pleased we could help Ethan and we wish him all the best in the future.”
Find out more about the Goldenhar Support Group at www.goldenhar.org.uk