Doctors give soldier new ear after growing it in her arm

Surgeons grow soldier's new ear in her FOREARM

A soldier who lost her ear in a 2016 auto accident has a newly transplanted ear that was grown in her own arm, the Army said. Then the doctors at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso successfully transplanted the ear from her arm to her head. Johnson proposed building a new ear using cartilage taken from Burrage's ribs, then tucking the ear under the skin of her forearm to allow it to grow and form new blood vessels, according to the statement.

"The whole goal is by the time she's done with all this, it looks good, it (has feeling), and in five years if somebody doesn't know her they won't notice", he said.

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

She could be fitted with a plastic prosthetic ear or she could have one reconstructed.

"As a young active-duty Soldier, they deserve the best reconstruction they can get", Johnson said.

Losing her ear was just one of many injuries Burrage sustained in 2016 when the front tire of her auto blew out, causing the vehicle to skid 700 feet before flipping multiple times. Shamika Burrage's auto two years ago, it skidded 700 feet and flipped several times before she was thrown from the vehicle. Her cousin, who was eight months pregnant at the time, only suffered minor injuries.

The first time an operation of this kind was attempted was in 2012, when a woman who had lost her ear to cancer regrew another under the skin of her forearm.

'Then I remember people walking up to us, asking if we were okay and then I blacked out, ' she said. Afterward, when she woke up in the hospital, she wasn't whole.

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"I was on the ground, I just looked up and (her cousin) was right there", Burrage said.

While the soldier wasn't keen on the surgery at first, she ultimately changed her mind, the report said.

'I didn't want to do [the reconstruction] but gave it some thought and came to the conclusion that it could be a good thing, ' she told Army.mil. While she was initially scared about going through with the reconstruction, she said she wanted to see what doctors could do.

But since her surgery, Burrage said that she's looking forward to what's to come.

She has two surgeries left, and is excited to finally be healthy again, "It's been a long process for everything, but I'm back", she said to ABC. Why should she have to deal with having an artificial ear for the rest of her life?' he said.

"(The ear) will have fresh arteries fresh veins and even a fresh nerve so she'll be able to feel it", he added.

Dr. Patrick Byrne at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine pioneered the ear surgery that used the forearm for grow the ear for reconstruction.

As for Burrage, she has two more surgeries left and says she is feeling optimistic about her future.

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