So you didn’t know my daughter, Evie, was born with out her right ear? You’re not alone! God gave her some great hair that usually covers up what little bit of an ear she has. So when your child is born with out an ear you have a few choices.
1. Do nothing. That was the best choice for the first eight years of her life. It never really bugged her (or anyone else) and we left good enough alone. She even said to me more than once that getting an ear that didn’t work was a silly idea. UNTIL she started third grade. Then, just like the ENT told us when she was 6 months old . . . she decided she needed two ears like everyone else she knows. Seems legit to me.
2. Rib Reconstructive Surgery. Short, non medical version… take a rib, make an ear. I know people who have had this done and are satisfied. This was definitely an option we considered. While it takes several surgeries to accomplish, once you are done that’s it. You have an ear. Seems like a solid choice but unless you have the top plastic surgeon in your pocket the results may vary and that concerned us (no judgement from us if this is the path you choose . . . it just wasn’t the right one for us).
3. The implant-retained auricular prosthesis OR as we like to call it: FAKE EAR. This felt like the right option for Evie from the beginning. It’s a silicone ear that is attached to metal posts in Evie’s head by magnets. There are pros and cons though. Pros: it looks exactly (and I mean wow) like a human ear and Evie’s at that. It’s one surgery and then she’s done. Cons: don’t let your dog eat your ear, don’t loose your ear on the playground, have to replace it every 2-6 years depending on how it fairs and probably most importantly we remove the option of ever having reconstructive surgery. Well that last one freaked me out a little but let’s be real. Meredith Grey is printing ears on 3-D printers (that’s a Grey’s Anatomy reference) and I have confidence in Evie’s life time they’ll (or maybe Evie) will figure out how to grow ears. So all that said . . . we’ve started this process and Evie is over the moon thrilled with the idea especially after our first visit.
What We Did
Evie had her very first appointment with the an aplastologist in Rochester on Monday December 1. Evie got to see and feel some ears (also eyes and noses that were laying around…eeek). Evie’s #1 question: Can I have piercings? The anaplastologist answers . . . AS MANY AS YOU WANT. Whoa up there doc. Maybe when she’s buying her own ears 🙂 Then they do some measuring and make molds. I don’t actually remember what the mold material is but they use it for dental molds as well (see the gooey mess below). They make a mold of both sides. They use her regular ear as a pattern. They do some drawing on her and take some pictures. That’s it that’s all. From there the anaplastologist forms a surgical template for our surgeon to use for the next step.
Evie will have surgery the end of December to place the implants (Tiny metal posts that the base magnets will go in) and then it’s time to sit back and wait for healing (three to six months from surgery date). After that we’ll hit the road and spend a week in Rochester to have them build her an ear.
Want to follow us on our journey to get Evie an ear? I’ll be saving updates here (mostly so I have it journaled!). Check back! Special thanks to my mom who came with us and drove across South Dakota for the first time ever today (so exciting).
Apologies to my former English teachers and friends who are superior at retaining and using grammar and punctuation in the English language. I give you permission to print this off and red pen me.