A report released this week by the US Army announced that surgeons were able to give a soldier a brand new ear by growing it inside her arm. The soldier had lost the ear in a car accident in 2016.
According to the report, surgeons at William Beaumont Army Medical Center created the new ear by harvesting cartilage from Pvt. Shamika Burrage’s ribcage and then inserting it beneath the skin on her arm, allowing the ear to grow and develop new blood vessels.
“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,” chief plastic surgeon Lt. Col. Owen Johnson III said in the report released Monday. “As a young active-duty soldier, they deserve the best reconstruction they can get.”
“[The ear] will have fresh arteries, fresh veins and even a fresh nerve so she’ll be able to feel it,” the surgeon added.
Burrage lost her ear in 2016 at the age of 19 when a tire on the car she was driving from Mississippi to Fort Bliss, Texas, suddenly blew out, causing the vehicle to flip several times before she was ejected from it. Also in the car was her cousin, who was eight months pregnant.
“I was coming back from leave and we were around Odessa, Texas,” Burrage explained in the report. “We were driving and my front tire blew, which sent the car off road and I hit the brake. I remember looking at my cousin, who was in the passenger seat; I looked…