Must Read: Lost her ear in a car accident; What Doctors have done to grow her ear is really surprising!!

US Army Private Shamika Burrage survived a near-fatal car accident two years ago, but not without losing her ear. But now, thanks to a novel procedure performed at an Army medical center in Texas, Burrage got her ear back in a most unusual way. First, surgeons harvested cartilage from Burrage’s ribs to create a new ear and then grew it under the skin of her forearm. Afterward, surgeons at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso successfully transplanted the ear from her arm to her head.

Image Courtesy: CNN

Now, Burrage is the latest recipient of a cosmetic reconstruction procedure called prelaminated forearm free flap surgery — a sci-fi-sounding operation that involves “growing” new tissue by implanting a patient’s cartilage under their forearm skin. Although many civilians around the world have successfully undergone the procedure, Burrage is the first American soldier to receive the novel reconstruction process, according to a statement from the U.S. Army.

“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,” Lt. Col. Owen Johnson III, chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, said in the statement. “As a young active-duty soldier, they deserve the best reconstruction they can get.”

Some of the big advantages of that it minimized the chance of more scarring around Burrage’s ear. The benefit of growing the ear under the skin of her forearm is that it allows new blood vessels to form.

“(The ear) will have fresh arteries, fresh veins, and even a fresh nerve so she’ll be able to feel it,” Johnson further said in a statement.

Burrage, a 21-year-old private, still has to undergo two more surgeries, but she’s feeling more optimistic about the future than ever in the years since her accident.

“It’s been a long process for everything, but I’m back,” said Burrage.


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