Doctors Grow Ear on Woman's Forearm

The ear has been created from a cartilage which was harvested from her ribs

The total ear reconstruction, at William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC), was the first of its kind for the U.S. Army and involved harvesting cartilage from Pvt. The soldier said that she did not feel comfortable with the way she looked, so she was referred to plastic surgery.

Soon, the ear grown in her own body will be transplanted to the left side of her face, where Burrage, now 21, will even be able to feel her new appendage. "As a young active-duty Soldier, they deserve the best reconstruction they can get".

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

After Pvt. Shamika Burrage, a supply clerk with 1st Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, was in a vehicle wreck two years ago, she suffered road rash, a head injury, compression fractures in her spine, and lost her ear. 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. "We were driving and my front tire blew, which sent the auto off road and I hit the brake".

"I was on the ground, I just looked up and (her cousin) was right there". Shamika Burrage's auto two years ago, it skidded 700 feet and flipped several times before she was thrown from the vehicle. "Then I remember people walking up to us, asking if we were OK and then I blacked out".

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.

Burrage had resigned herself to living a life with a prosthetic ear, but she didn't like the way it looked.

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"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 said.

Some of the big advantages of it is that it reduced the chance of more scarring around Burrage's ear.

The crash that affected Burrage's ear occurred in 2016 while she was returning from leave and en route to Fort Bliss, Texas, the report said.

Although Burrage's hearing might be functioning again, her recovery isn't done yet.

'I was just scared at first but wanted to see what [the surgeon] could do'. After months of rehabilitation, Burrage was devastated by her appearance and elected to go for the pioneering surgery. So she sought out other options through plastic surgery.

With only two more surgeries left, Burrage states she is feeling more optimistic and excited to finish the reconstruction.

Now, a novel procedure at the Army medical center in Texas has given Burrage back her ear by growing another one on her arm.

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