Monday, 17 December, 2018

Docs replace soldier's ear with one grown inside forearm

Docs replace soldier's ear with one grown inside forearm Docs replace soldier's ear with one grown inside forearm
Melissa Porter | 11 May, 2018, 14:45

The complex, year-long "total ear construction" performed on Burrage involved taking cartilage from her ribs to design a new ear-which was then allowed to grow underneath her forearm skin.

In 2016, Burrage was driving with her cousin from MS to Texas when a tire blew.

Behind the wheel, Burrage stomped on the brake and remembers looking with concern at her pregnant cousin next to her.

After Shamika Burrage, an Army private, was in a vehicle crash two years ago, she woke up in the hospital without her left ear, according to the Washington Post. "I just remember the first flip and that was it".

Despite her initial hesitance and the multiple surgeries she'll eventually have to endure, Burrage said she's happy with her decision. Doctors later told her that if she had received medical attention 30 minutes later, she could have died. After several months of rehabilitation, she began counseling for the emotional trauma caused by the accident, including its effects on her appearance. NBC reports she has two surgeries remaining and is feeling optimistic.

The team at William Beaumont Army Medical Center created the new ear for Pvt.

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

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. "I was going to go with the prosthetic, to avoid more scarring but I wanted a real ear", said Burrage.

The total ear reconstruction technique, a first time of its type in the Army, is known as prelaminated forearm free flap, said Lt. Col. Owen Johnson, the plastic and reconstructive surgery chief at WRAMC. The surgeons "grew" a fully functional ear for her, complete with nerve endings, cartilages and blood vessels inside her arm!

'She was 19 and healthy and had her whole life ahead of her.

Johnson said that he had to reopen her ear canal as it had closed due to the accident and has fortunately not lost the ability of hearing.

Such is the case with Private Shamika Burrage who lost her ear in a 2016 auto accident, and where she opted to regrow her ear instead of using a prosthetic.