New Ear Grown On Soldier's Forearm For Transplant, First For US Army

Surgeons grow soldier's new ear in her FOREARM

Surgeons grow soldier's new ear in her FOREARM

Physicians at William Beaumont Army Medical Center reportedly did a total ear reconstruction surgery on a soldier who lost the use of her own after a vehicle accident.

After removing and shaping cartilage taken from her ribs, doctors placed the new ear in her forearm, creating a small pocket for it to fit snugly to grow new blood vessels.

This is the first time the technique - called a prelaminated forearm free flap - has ever been used in the army, according to Lt. Col. Owen Johnson III, chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at William Beaumont Army Medical Center.

In a rare and remarkable procedure, Army surgeons at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, have recreated an ear for Burrage out of cartilage, and tucked it into her arm to finish growing.

With only two more surgeries left, Burrage said she's feeling more optimistic and excited. In 2016, she was returning to Fort Bliss after visiting family in MS when a tire blowout changed her life forever. Surgeons this week announced that the new ear has been successfully reattached to Pvt.

Two years ago, Army Private Shamika Burrage nearly died when she was ejected from her auto during a crash in Texas.

Burrage herself said she was hesitant at first but ultimately decided on the reconstruction. Doctors also managed to open up her ear canal to help her regain her hearing.

And Johnson said it just made sense to try it, since Burrage is so young and shouldn't have to deal with an artificial ear for the rest of her life.

When explained her options for reconstruction, Burrage was shocked and initially resistant to go through with the total ear reconstruction.

A soldier received a successful ear transplant with a brand new ear that was "grown" in her arm, the United States Army said in a statement Wednesday.

"It's been a long process for everything, but I'm back", she said. "I was just scared at first".

Private Burrage has two more operations before the procedure is complete.

Despite her initial hesitance and the multiple surgeries she'll eventually have to endure, Burrage said she's happy with her decision. "I was going to go with the prosthetic, to avoid more scarring but I wanted a real ear", Shamika said, per the Army's statement.

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