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Joey was born with a malformed outer ear and ear canal. She is deaf without wearing a hearing aid and hides her ear behind her hair, because she didn’t want people to treat her differently.
So when Joey’s daughter, Felicity, was born with the same condition, called microtia, she was concerned that it would affect Felicitiy's hearing and speech – and later her self-confidence.
It’s unclear what causes microtia, which is a malformation of the outer ear and ear canal, but it is only passed down from a parent to child in rare cases.
After searching for treatment options, Joey and Felicity, who live in Australia, flew to Los Angeles to meet with craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgeon Dr. Sheryl Lewin, who specializes in ear reconstruction surgery for patients with microtia.
Dr. Lewin performs a complete right ear reconstruction on Joey, using a customized implant that is covered with tissue from her scalp.
Felicity is missing the top portion of her left ear, so Dr. Lewin sculpts a custom partial implant based on her opposite ear and projects her growth so she eventually will grow into her new ear.
“The goal is that nobody will ever know that they weren’t born with a normal ear,” Dr. Lewin says.
Dr. Lewin, Joey and Felicity join The Doctors three weeks after the surgery.
“What an amazing surgery to watch that!” ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says.
Joey says it’s "a dream come true” to look in the mirror and see a full-sized ear. See the before and after and how Joey’s ear is expected to look in three months.
For more information about reconstructive surgery for microtia, visit the following websites: