LEVITTOWN, NY (PIX11) — A 5-year-old Long Island boy born without a left ear recently underwent a unique ear reconstruction surgery using cadaver tissue.
The technique used for Luca Vacchio was pioneered by a plastic surgeon at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, who is the only surgeon in the world to perform this surgery. Luca and his family met with plastic surgeon Nicholas Bastidas. They were also greeted by Luca’s favorite superhero — Iron Man — in honor of the boy’s bravery.
Luca was diagnosed with hemifacial microsomia (HFM), a condition causing underdevelopment or no development of the face, ear, and jaw. According to doctors, HFM affects one in 4,000 children. As new parents, his mom says she was scared about his future.
Dr. Bastidas revolutionized ear reconstruction by using donated human organ tissue, after feeling frustrated with the techniques used. Normally, the procedure is done by either reconstructing the ear with cartilage from the child’s own rib cage or synthetic implants.
Prior to the operation, Dr. Bastidas carved Lucas’ new left ear using his right ear as a template. Luca only spent 90 minutes on the operating table with little downtime afterwards.
It’s been three months since the surgery and Luca’s self confidence has grown leaps and bounds. He has another surgery scheduled in April to lift the ear and make it possible for doctors to install a hearing aid.