A Soldier Is Getting A New Ear… Once It Finishes Growing In Her Arm
11 May, 2018, 04:28
Plastic surgeons in El Paso recently grew and transplanted a new ear on a soldier who lost her's in an accident, but the 21-year-old had to "wear" the growing cartilage on her arm before the surgery.
Here's how it works: Surgeons harvested cartilage from Burrage's ribs to carve and shape a new ear, which was then placed under the skin of her forearm - a process called prelaminated forearm free flap. Doctors have successfully transplanted the ear from her arm to her head.
Burrage has two more surgeries before the reconstruction is complete, but she is already feeling more optimistic. "As a young active-duty Soldier, they deserve the best reconstruction they can get". When Burrage hit the brakes, the auto skidded for 700 feet and flipped several times.
The procedure was a first for the Army, but it harkens back to the notorious Vacanti Mouse, a rodent onto which scientists implanted the shape of a human ear back in the 1990s.
What Johnson and the other surgeons at the medical center proposed - growing an ear in her forearm and then transplanting it - shocked her.
This accident was nearly fatal for Burrage; doctors said if the paramedics would have come thirty minutes later than they did, she would not have made it.
Shamika Burrage lost her entire left ear in a vehicle accident when she was 19 and there was little hope for recovering from that. Johnson was able to reopen her ear canal, which had closed from the trauma suffered in her accident.
Burrage's pregnant cousin managed to only suffer minor injuries.
The crash that affected Burrage's ear occurred in 2016 while she was returning from leave and en route to Fort Bliss, Texas, the report said.
Amazingly, Burrage's ear will have its own blood supply and she will even have sensation. "I was going to go with the prosthetic to avoid more scarring, but I wanted a real ear", Burrage told the Army. 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. "I just remember the first flip and that was it".
Burrage said she had been in rehabilitation for several months, following which she began to seek counseling due to emotional stress caused by the accident.
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