Published: Thu, May 10, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Surgeons replace soldiers ear with one they grew on her forearm

Surgeons replace soldiers ear with one they grew on her forearm

"She was 19 and healthy and had her whole life ahead of her", Lt. Col. Owen Johnson III, the chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at William Beaumont Medical Center in El Paso, Texas where the surgery was performed said in a May 7 statement.

Shamika Burrage, an Army supply clerk, was returning to her post in Texas after visiting family in MS, according to an Army statement.

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.

"As a young active-duty Soldier, they deserve the best reconstruction they can get", he said.

After a few surgeries, the ear has now been transferred to her head.

The first time an operation of this kind was attempted was in 2012, when a woman who had lost her ear to cancer regrew another under the skin of her forearm.

The rare and revolutionary procedure was done by using cartilage from the soldier's rib cage, which was inserted beneath the skin on her arm in order to develop new blood vessels. When a tire blew, the auto skidded 700 feet, and then started rolling.

As for Burrage, she has two more surgeries left and says she is feeling optimistic about her future. "I just remember the first flip and that was it". While her cousin suffered only minor injuries, Burrage suffered compression fractures in her spine, head injuries, road rash, and the complete loss of her left ear. "I didn't feel comfortable with the way I looked so the provider referred me to plastic surgery", Burrage said in the statement.

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The hailstorm triggered traffic jams, snapped power supply, uprooted trees and blew off roofs in parts of Shimla district. Officials said no loss to life or major damage to property was reported till late evening, PTI reported.

Burrage was thrown from the auto and suffered serious injuries including head injuries, spinal fractures, road rash and the loss of her left ear, NBC Bay Area reports.

Doctors later told her that if she had not received medical attention in 30 minutes, she would have bled to death.

"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". Why should she have to deal with having an artificial ear for the rest of her life?' he said. "I was just scared at first but wanted to see what [the surgeon] could do". "I was going to go with the prosthetic, to avoid more scarring but I wanted a real ear", said Burrage.

In addition to the transplant, some of her forearm epidermis was attached to her ear, which covers additional scar tissue around Burrage's left jawline.

Burrage didn't lose any hearing during the procedure, according to the statement, and if all goes well during rehabilitation, she'll also have feeling in her reconstructed ear.

"It's been a long process, but I'm back", Burrage said.

But since her surgery, Burrage has been confident and looking forward to what's to come.

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