Surgeons grew soldier’s new ear on her arm

A soldier wounded in a single-car accident has undergone a transplant involving an ear grown on her arm.

The particular means of ear reconstruction was an Army first.

In the initial stages of the procedure, tissue was taken from the soldier’s ribs, carved to the desired shape, then placed beneath her forearm skin so it could grow.

“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, the chief plastic surgeon at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, said. “As a young active-duty Soldier, they deserve the best reconstruction they can get.”

Two more surgeries are required before the transplant is considered complete, but Pvt. Shamika Burrage, the 21-year-old patient, has already experienced improvements in her hearing and general outlook.

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

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