Army grows ear in soldier's arm for successful transplant - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Army grows ear in soldier's arm for successful transplant

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Army Army
EL PASO, Texas -

After a soldier lost her left ear in a car crash, Army surgeons were able to grow a new ear in her forearm and transplant it onto her head.

The Army announced Monday that the procedure performed on Pvt. Shamika Burrage was successful.

NBC San Diego reports that the total ear reconstruction is the first of its kind in the Army.

Doctors from William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas took cartilage from the soldier's ribs, carved out a new ear and placed it under the skin of her forearm to allow it to grow.

In 2016, Burrage was driving with her cousin from Mississippi to Texas when a tire blew. The car veered off the road, skidded for 700 feet and then flipped multiple times. Burrage, who was only 19, was thrown from the car. Her cousin, who was eight months pregnant, suffered only minor injuries. Burrage suffered head injuries, spinal fractures, road rash and the complete loss of her left ear.

After several months of rehabilitation and counseling, she looked into how to get a new ear. Army surgeons told her they could potentially make her a new one.

"I was going to go with the prosthetic, to avoid more scarring, but I wanted a real ear," she said in a statement released by the Army. "I was just scared at first but wanted to see what [the surgeon] could do."

Burrage, now 21, has two surgeries left. She has hearing in her left ear, and she's feeling optimistic.

"It's been a long process for everything, but I'm back," she said.

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