Hollywood-style special effects give girl new ear

Hollywood-style special effects give girl new ear
(Image credit: Sara D. Davis / AP)

Hollywood-style special effects give girl new ear WASHINGTON — Elise Lutz never let her friends see what was left of her ear. She'd carefully style her long hair into a one-sided ponytail, or swelter under a swim cap for hours at meets, to cover the molten lump from a severe burn as a toddler in her native China.

But as a teenager, the North Carolina girl expressed her desire to be whole again with a simple request: She really wanted pierced earrings. Thus began a months-long quest for a new right ear, one made of silicone but so lifelike that it even glows a bit in the sun like real skin.

Hollywood-style special effects give girl new ear
(Image credit: Gerry Broome / AP)

Elise benefited from a little known field called anaplastology, where medical artists make Hollywood-like special effects come alive to fix disfigurements that standard plastic surgery cannot. Surgeons first removed the tissue and cartilage from her deformed ear and after they inserted titanium rods into her skull to hold her new prosthetic ear.

Surgeon tried hard to recover her original ear but couldn't, then they suggested to an implant-retained ear costing nearly $8,000 to $10,000. The day before Thanksgiving, Elise's new ear is ready to attach, complete with earring hole. She practices clicking it on, surprised that it's easy, and smiles into the mirror, hair tucked back.

"It kind of took forever, but it was worth it," says Elise, 14, as she headed to show her transformation to her dad and sisters. "I'm so excited, I'm more than 100 excited."

Hollywood-style special effects give girl new ear
(Image credit: Sara D. Davis / AP)

Hollywood-style special effects give girl new ear
(Image credit: Gerry Broome / AP)


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