In 2013 I sat in a little cafe in Nice with a small band of ear surgeons. We were there to put finishing touches to our plans to form the International Society for Auricular Reconstruction (ISAR). One in our midst picked up a piece of pretzel and with abundant eloquence in a second language embarked upon a dissertation regarding the similarities between ears and pretzels. No ordinary lady but one whose life’s work has been dedicated to the provision of auricles.

Anyone who has ever met Francoise Firmin cannot fail to have been utterly charmed by her effervescent charm. She has the uncanny ability to combine endless fun and unbridled enthusiasm with calm authority and unrivalled competence. Her dedication to the art of ear reconstruction has made her the darling of not only the community of ear reconstruction but the world of plastic surgery.

The personality of Francoise exudes from every pore of this book. The clear and logical classification of the many aspects of ear reconstruction surgery simplifies a complex arena rendering it comprehensible to the fullest of minds. Her classifications are widely quoted because they make perfect sense. The figures in the book amplify and clarify the message. The multitude of ‘pearls’ should adorn the frontal lobes on anyone who embarks on a career in auricles. The cartoons are a reminder to the fallible that whilst patient safety is of unquestioned importance, surgery and life should also be fun.

Many surgeons write books in the autumn of their careers to summarise their life of study. Few will ever achieve this with such aplomb and allure as the veritable Francoise. I congratulate her, and I congratulate Alexandre and Joseph, her able co-authors in this project. This book is a must for anyone with an interest in ears.

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Ken Stewart

NHS Lothian, UK.

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