Soldier Gets New Ear Grown In Her Arm Then Transplanted


The total ear reconstruction, at William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC), was the first of its kind for the U.S. Army and involved harvesting cartilage from Pvt.

Soon, the ear grown in her own body will be transplanted to the left side of her face, where Burrage, now 21, will even be able to feel her new appendage. Shamika Burrage's auto two years ago, it skidded 700 feet and flipped several times before she was thrown from the vehicle. While her cousin managed to escape with only minor wounds, Burrage suffered head injuries as well as compression fractures in the spine.

They skidded off the road for 700 feet and the vehicle started flipping.

"I was on the ground, I just looked up and (my cousin) was right there". Her auto skidded 700 feet and flipped several times, according to the statement. This will enable her to having feeling in her ear once the rehabilitation process is complete.

"I was coming back from leave and we were around Odessa, Texas", Burrage said about the accident. "Then I remember people walking up to us, asking if we were okay and then I blacked out".

But since her surgery, Burrage has been confident and looking forward to what's to come. Afterward, when she woke up in the hospital, she wasn't whole.

Burrage was alive but deeply shaken by the accident. "I didn't feel comfortable with the way I looked so the provider referred me to plastic surgery", Burrage said in the statement.

Burrage had been driving with her pregnant cousin from MS to Fort Bliss, Texas, when the crash happened.

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

She 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".

Originally wary of reconstruction, Burrage at first planned on getting a prosthetic - but eventually, she decided she wanted a real ear. "I was just scared at first but wanted to see what he could do".

Her surgeon, Dr Lt Col Owen Johnson III encouraged her to have the reconstruction.

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. Instead of finding a donor, surgeons took cartilage from Burrage's ribs and carved it into the shape of an ear. So she sought out other options through plastic surgery.

Surgeons at Johns Hopkins performed a similar surgery in 2012 after a woman lost part of her ear to an aggressive form of cancer.

Placing the cartilage under the skin allows for the formation of new blood vessels.

Skin from the forearm will cover up scar tissue around Burrage's left jawline.