Cassidy Sitella, a Grade 3 pupil from Nuwe Hoop Sentrum in Worcester was born without ears. This is a rare congenital deformity called microcia and is where the external ears are underdeveloped or non-existent.
However her life has now changed after she underwent reconstructive surgery at Tygerberg Hospital to reconstruct her ears and Cassidy now no longer has to depend on a hearing aid to assist her poor hearing.
The surgery was performed as part of Smile Foundation’s Vodacom Smile Week.
Plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr Alexander Zuhlke operated on Cassidy and said that while her new ears would have no effect on her hearing ability, they would certainly have an impact on her self-esteem.
He explained that the procedure of making the ear involved opening a pocket under Cassidy’s skin and then taking cartilage was taken from her ribs which was then carved into an ear framework and placed into the pocket under the skin. They then placed a tube underneath to suck the skin into the cartilage to form an ear.
A second-stage operation is planned to complete the ear.
Source: Cape Argus, IOL