Nov 2016

Nine-year-old Anya Storie was born with microtia, which means the outer part of her left ear has not fully developed, leaving her with some hearing loss on that side. But the youngster, from Wishaw in Lanarkshire, undergoes innovative surgery which involves creating an entirely new ear using cartilage from her ribcage. Surgeons use 3D printing technology to sculpt an accurate replacement by making a replica of her right ear. She will also get implantable hearing aids.

The surgery is by plastic surgeon Ken Stewart at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.

Anya StorieAnya and parentsAnya said: "I'm really excited about getting a new ear and it will make me really happy.

"I usually ignore it when people at my school make comments but I'm so glad to be getting my new ear - I can't wait!” Anya's mother Aurea added: "We've known Ken Stewart for many years and have been aware of the different surgery options available to Anya. "We decided at an early age that we'd wait and see what technology develops before deciding what we should do and what would be best for her.

"Reforming an ear is an extremely difficult procedure but the chance to do it now, using the 3D scanner and printer, seems like the right time. We are delighted and the timing couldn't have been better, Mr Stewart said: "It's a lovely, special thing to do and a great artistic endeavour. We use a 3D scanner and printer to aid the construction of the new ear, not something which is commonly used in this procedure. This in itself has made such a big difference to the accuracy of the new ear.

The smiles on the patients' and families' faces are amazing and I'm delighted to be able to offer such a life-changing procedure to this little girl. It will drastically improve her quality of life in terms of self-confidence in her appearance, and also improving her hearing."
The printer was funded by a £32,000 donation from the Sick Kids Friends Foundation. Its chief executive Roslyn Neely said: "The Sick Kids Friends Foundation leaped at the chance to fund the 3D printer to support Ken and his team in undertaking this incredible and life-changing surgery.

"We are privileged to be involved with this innovative work, which will have such a positive impact for Anya and many other children in the future”.

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