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Microtia by Charlotte - video podcast

Watch Charlotte's video to find out more about microtia and what it is like to be treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

If the video is not showing please watch it on YouTube

Charlotte, 12, was born with a condition called microtia, which means 'small ear'. Her right ear was just a small flap of skin.

She came to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) for surgery to build a new ear using cartilage from her ribs. After three operations she has a perfect new ear – and lots of good advice for young people in hospital.

"I was born with a condition called microtia. It means small ear in Latin. Sometimes it is just your ear that is deformed but sometimes it means one whole side of your face is deformed. For me it was just my right ear.

"I was quite shy because of it and not very outgoing. I tried to hide my ear and I was very secretive about it. I didn’t use to like putting my hair up.

Ear surgery

"I went into GOSH when I was about eight but I said I didn’t want the operation to build me a new ear. But we went back later when I was 11 and I had decided I did want it. By now I was sick of having microtia and I wanted a normal ear.

"It was great coming to GOSH because I got filmed! I thought it was going to be like any other hospital but I didn’t really realise what the people were going to be like – they were great.

"When I think about there is nothing really wrong with me compared to some of the other people there. But everyone understands and knows what you are going through

Rib cartilage

"When I talked to the surgeon, Neil, about my operation I don’t think I really listened properly at first. But Neil told me he was going to take some rib cartilage and form an ear for me. I was worried and I was scared but I trusted him.

"I would say that to be prepared you have to ask questions. I didn’t realise the full force of what was going to happen until I was there. If I had asked and listened more I would have been better prepared.

"That’s why I wanted to make the film – so other people could be better prepared by seeing what happens.

New ear

"I had three operations in the end. I was quite prepared for it to take a long time. But then again it doesn’t seem like a long time new, looking back – it just seems like two minutes!

"After the first operation I didn’t like my new ear. It was a bit of a shock because I thought it was going to be perfect. I should have asked more questions!

Be prepared

"Now I am really pleased. It is great now all the operations are done. I can put my hair up and no-one realises that I’ve had an operation. I think people think I’m making it up if I tell them!

"My advice for other people is to ask questions and find out a bit more about what is going to happen. Hopefully that will be easier now there is a video about it.

"Be prepared for what is going to happen after your first operation because I was a bit disappointed. Be prepared for a long journey but it is really worth it in the end."

More information

For more information on microtia, please speak to your doctor.