Texas Surgeons Grow New Ear On Soldier's Arm For Transplantation

The ear has been created from a cartilage which was harvested from her ribs

Surgeons at William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC) were able to craft the new ear for Pvt. But a group of Army doctors did one better: They grew a new ear on a soldier's forearm, using cartilage harvested from her ribs. When Burrage hit the brakes, the auto skidded for 700 feet and flipped several times.

The procedure, which is frequently done to address ear defects from trauma, cancer or a birth defect, has been performed thousands of times around the world.

After the accident, Burrage started going to a counselor, the report said. She was driving, while her eight-months-pregnant cousin was in the passenger seat.

Shamika Burrage was thrown out of her auto in a vehicle crash and when she woke up in the hospital her entire left ear was gone.

"I was coming back from leave and ... my front tire blew, which sent the auto off road and I hit the brake". The young woman suffered head injuries, compression fractures in her spine, road rash and lost her left ear.

"It's been a long process for everything, but I'm back", said Burrage, who has two more surgeries left. That was when doctors brought up the idea of a total ear reconstruction.

"I didn't feel comfortable with the way I looked so the provider referred me to plastic surgery", Burrage said. "Why should she have to deal with having an artificial ear for the rest of her life?"

Burrage said that she had resigned herself to living with a prosthetic ear, but did not like how it looked.

"The whole goal is by the time she's done with all this, it looks good, it's sensate, and in five years if somebody doesn't know her they won't notice", said Lt. Col. Owen Johnson III, chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery for the medical center, in the Army statement.

"The procedure is one of the most complicated ear constructions in the United States and allows for the formation of new blood vessels in the cartilage", according to ABC News.

"(The ear) will have fresh arteries, fresh veins and even a fresh nerve so she'll be able to feel it", Johnson said on the US Army's website.

Originally wary of reconstruction, Burrage at first planned on getting a prosthetic - but eventually, she decided she wanted a real ear.

What Johnson and the other surgeons at the medical center proposed - growing an ear in her forearm and then transplanting it - shocked her.

Now thanks to a revolutionary process that was more than a year in the making and a first for the Army, she doesn't have to.

In this representational photo, an "ear" is seen growing on the arm of a patient who lost his right hearing organ in an accident, at the first affiliated hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University, in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China, Nov. 9, 2016.

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