Kids Receive Lab-Grown Ears in Groundbreaking New Treatment

For the first time ever, Chinese scientists grew a human ear from the body's own cells over a biodegradable mold

Feb 6, 2018
Close up of human ear

(Ninell /

Regenerative medicine has made incredible strides since its inception in the early 1990s and medical science is getting closer to helping children born with microtia have a fully functioning ear.

Due to the condition, the external ear on one or both sides doesn’t fully develop, leading to hearing problems and often a life of strange looks and ridicule.

In a world’s first, Chinese scientists succeeded in growing a new ear from the children’s own cells and grafting it onto the young patients.

The surgical procedure has marked a milestone in regenerative medicine and the success is spreading and generating buzz in the medical community.

The first operation of this kind was performed two and a half years ago, and today, the child is doing great. Four more children have undergone the procedure following the initial success.

Tessa Hadlock, a reconstructive plastic surgeon at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston, told New Scientist, that the technology is amazing and has had stellar results.

“They’ve shown that it is possible to get close to restoring the ear structure.”

While the process itself takes several months, scientists are checking in on the patients for an additional five years to note any possible complications.

They’re constantly working to discover ways to make the ears look as natural as possible, giving their patients the chance to live full, happy lives.

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Rebecca is passionate about reading, cooking, and learning about people doing good in the world. She especially loves writing about wellness, personal growth, and relationships.