A unique operation to reconstruct the outer ear and hearing of 10½-year-old Liel was conducted at Schneider Children's. The outer ear reconstruction was conducted by Dr. Asaf Ulshinka, senior physician in the Plastic Surgery Unit at Schneider Children's, while the hearing device and bony implant was performed by Dr. David Ulnovsky, head of Ear Services in the Otolaryngology Unit at Schneider Children's.
Liel was born with Microtia, a condition where the infant is born with a severely distorted and small outer ear or none at all. In many cases, the lobe is apparent, but not the other folds that form the outer ear, while the outer auditory canal and structures of the middle ear are either missing or abnormal. The condition, aside from the aesthetic harm, causes hearing impairment. Treatment to reconstruct a microtial ear always involves surgery, and in the majority of cases, the procedure is conducted in a number of stages. There are several methods and approaches used to reconstruct the ear, which can be divided into two types: reconstruction using the patient's rib, or reconstruction through a graft.
The distinctiveness of the operation performed by Dr. Ulshinka was that for the first time in Israel, the surgery was accomplished in one stage through use of a medpor graft covered with the child's own tissue, so that it matched the natural appearance of her body, and the implant of a titanium screw in the skull bone over which a magnet was connected to a unique hearing device that was affixed to the scalp (BAHA). The operation by-passed the distorted outer and middle ear structures and accorded audio waves to directly reach the inner ear.
Following the recovery from the surgery, Liel is very happy with her new ear and enhanced hearing. Dr. Ulshinka: "I am amazed anew every time from the huge impact the change brings to children with deformities of the face, and enjoy seeing them grow and develop following proper treatment. We gave Liel a new and aesthetic ear with improved hearing, as well as a better and more confident quality of life. I am proud to be part of Schneider and the Plastic Surgery Unit which provides excellent service of the highest standards to children undergoing craniofacial operations in general and plastic surgeries in particular."