Soldier loses ear, Army surgeon grows one in her forearm

11 May, 2018, 04:25 | Author: Lynne Higgins
  • Surgeons grow soldier's new ear in her FOREARM

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.

A United States Army Private became the first in U.S. Army history to undergo a total ear reconstruction. Shamika Burrage's ribcage and then inserting it beneath the skin on her arm, allowing the ear to grow and develop new blood vessels. Now, she 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. She pulled through but suffered head injuries, spine fractures, and road rash - and she lost her left ear.

Burrage still has two surgeries to go, but she said she's feeling optimistic.

The ear has since been attached after Johnson reopened Burrage's ear canal, which had closed up due to the accident. In 2016, she was returning to Fort Bliss after visiting family in MS when a tire blowout changed her life forever.

'I was just scared at first but wanted to see what [the surgeon] could do'.

"We were driving and my front tire blew, which sent the auto off road and I hit the brake", she said.

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.

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Despite her initial hesitance and the multiple surgeries she'll eventually have to endure, Burrage said she's happy with her decision.

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

Private Shamika Burrage, 21, from MS, lost her ear in 2016 when a tire blew out in a auto she was traveling in, causing the vehicle to veer off the road and flip several times.

Though her cousin only suffered minor injuries, Burrage wasn't so lucky. Burrage's ribs to carve a new ear out of the cartilage.

Johnson said he and his team are hopeful that Burrage's new ear will end up looking and acting like the original one, Fox News reported.

"It's been a long process for everything", she said, "but I'm back". "Why should she have to deal with having an artificial ear for the rest of her life?"

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