Army Doctors Transplant New Ear From Soldier's Arm

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Private Shamika Burrage lost her entire left ear in a auto accident in 2016 when she was just 19.

An Army soldier who lost her ear received a revolutionary transplant in which doctors grew her a brand new ear on the patient's own arm.

"(The ear) will have fresh arteries fresh veins and even a fresh nerve so she'll be able to feel it", said Johnson.

The accident occurred when the front tire of her auto blew, causing the vehicle to skid and then flipped several times. Her cousin who was with her in the auto had minor injuries, but she suffered head injuries, spine fractures, road rash, and lost her ear, CNN reports.

Her auto slid about 700 feet, then flipped several times before Burrage was ejected.

The procedure, dubbed "first of it's kind", was a success, as Burrage's hearing was fully recovered. Burge, however, was thrown from the auto and suffered trauma to her head, fractures to her spine, cuts and scrapes from the road and the total loss of her left ear.

"I was on the ground, I just looked up and (her cousin) was right there. Then I remember people walking up to us, asking if we were okay and then I blacked out", Burrage said on the U.S.

But since her surgery, Burrage said that she's looking forward to what's to come. Afterward, when she woke up in the hospital, she wasn't whole. Shamika Burrage said in the statement.

She spent several months in physical rehab, and started seeing a counselor. She was driving with her cousin, heading back to Fort Bliss where she was stationed, from her home in Mississippi. He presented the option of a total ear reconstruction.

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".

Burrage - a supply clerk with 1st Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division - initially was going to wear a prosthetic to avoid more scarring, but decided she wanted her ear back at all costs.

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

When enough room had been made, newly-molded ear was surgically placed under the skin flap.

"The procedure is one of the most complicated ear constructions in the United States and allows for the formation of new blood vessels in the cartilage", according to ABC News.

Epidermis from Burrage's forearm will be used to cover scar tissue in the area around her left jawline, the statement said. Instead of finding a donor, surgeons took cartilage from Burrage's ribs and carved it into the shape of an ear.

"I was just scared at first but wanted to see what he could do", she said.

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