(September 3, 2015) - Little Eli Bell was born without ears.
“He had very little nubs of cartilage, a little bit just little bits of bumps, but nothing else,” says Aaron Bell, Eli’s father.
The condition is called Bilateral Microtia.
“It caught us completely off guard. We didn’t have any clue that it was going to happen. There were no indicators, nothing had happened during the pregnancy that said this might happen. So, when he was born, it was a complete shock to us.”
Aaron Bell and his wife, Colleen, found a doctor who fitted Eli for hearing aids. Then they had to decide about reconstructive surgery. The couple finally found Dr. Anath Murthy, a pediatric plastic surgeon at Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio.
“When Eli first came to me,” said Dr. Murthy, “My main concern was, ‘is there anything else going on’ because with these little small ears, it can mean it’s part of a syndrome. But it turned out, Eli is totally fine otherwise.”
Dr. Murthy created two ears using Eli’s rib cartilage and a skin graft. The entire process took about four years.
“Technically it’s very difficult, but it’s also very artistic,” said Dr. Murthy. “We have a lot of like, almost like an exact set in the operating room. We use different gauges and chisels.”
Little Eli is thrilled with his ears.
“I’m thankful that I have these ears and that I am special,” said Eli.
Aaron and Colleen say they are beyond thankful for Dr. Murthy’s help and say the entire experience has actually been a blessing.
“Honestly without our faith and without us entrusting that god had a plan for all of this, I don’t know, I don’t know how we would’ve done it.”