A 42-year-old retail sales manager from Bel Air, Maryland, Sherrie Walters made history by having ear reconstruction surgery involving cartilage, taken from her own ribs and grown in her forearm before being placed back on her face.

The Ear Surgery Center of Excellence in Los Angeles boasts an expert team of surgeons for the treatment of microtia and other condition affecting the ear. Led by renowned facial plastic surgeon Dr. Carlo Honrado, our doctors are highly skilled in the most advanced reconstructive techniques, and we are committed to providing each patient with comprehensive, individualized care.

Sherrie’s Autologous Ear Reconstruction

Sherrie’s long ordeal began in 2008 when she was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma on her left ear. At the time, Sherrie recalled having a scab that seemingly wouldn’t heal, so she went in to see her doctor and was found out that the sore was actually an aggressive form of cancer. She then began a course of radiation and underwent constant biopsy to monitor the cancer.

Unfortunately, after noticing blood in her ear canal in October 2010, Sherrie’s cancer not only returned, but it had spread too. As a result, the surgeons at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore removed nearby areas of her head and neck, including the salivary glands, parts of her skull, the inner left ear canal, lymph nodes, and skin tissue. The surgery was 16-hours and left Sherrie with very little traditional options for ear plastic surgery.

“Sherrie’s skull bone had been removed, so the only way of attaching a prosthetic would be through tape and glue,” Dr. Patrick Byrne, lead surgeon and associate professor in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “We both agreed that wasn’t an option.”

As Sherrie put it in an interview with ABC News “The concept of having to tape something to my skin every day didn’t feel like that was who I was, I could just see my kids running around with it, yelling, ‘I have mommy’s ear!'”

Starting in November 2011 a new ear reconstruction began to take place with pieces of cartilage that came from Sherrie’s rib cage. The pieces were then taken and molded so they could be the building blocks of what would be her new ear. The new ear was inserted into her skin just under the surface of her forearm. The new ear grew skin while in her forearm over the following four months until it was removed and attached to her face. After 20 months and six reconstructive plastic surgeries, Sherrie’s new replacement ear was revealed on September 25, 2012

What Is Microtia?

Microtia a common congenital ear deformity that affects the inner ear canal leading to abnormal appearance and sometimes or complete lack of formation. This condition may require in the most severe form of treatments like autologous reconstruction similar to what Sherrie Walters underwent.

Contact an Ear Surgeon in Los Angeles

At the Ear Surgery Center of Excellence, our goal is to provide the highest quality of care in a safe, state-of-the-art medical environment. Our ear surgeons have trained at some of the most prestigious medical institutions in the country and utilize advanced surgical techniques to provide the most natural looking results. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation by calling (888) 281-8537 or filling out our contact form.

Next, read about prosthetic ears.