Soldier gets new ear 'grown' on forearm

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A U.S. Army soldier who lost her ear in a near-fatal auto accident now has a new one.

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.

Army surgeons in Texas successfully transplanted a new ear on a soldier that they grew on her forearm, the military announced in a statement.

Burrage was in Odessa, Texas, in 2016, driving back to Fort Bliss after a visit with her family in MS when a tire blew out.

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When her tire blew out on a trip from MS to Fort Bliss, Texas, Burrage's auto flipped and ejected the young soldier resulting in head injuries, spinal fractures, and the loss of her ear. Shamika and her cousin, who was pregnant at the time, had been traveling from MS to Texas when the vehicle crash happened.

'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, ' she told Army.mil. "I was just scared at first".

The groundbreaking technique-the first procedure of its kind in the Army-allows the ear to form new arteries, veins and even nerves, meaning the private should eventually regain sensation in the ear.

At first, Burrage was hesitant about undergoing reconstructive surgery, but after careful thought she chose to move forward with it.

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

"I was going to go with the prosthetic, to avoid more scarring but I wanted a real ear", she said.

Army Pvt. Shamika Burrage's left ear is unlike other ears, though you might not realize it at first.

"It's been a long process for everything", she said, "but I'm back". She is reportedly slated to undergo two more surgeries.

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Today, Burrage is on her path to recovery with a fully functioning ear. Johnson was able to reopen her ear canal, which had closed from the trauma suffered in her accident. In 2017, a team of Chinese plastic surgeons led by Dr. Guo Shuzhong completed a similar surgery on a man who lost his ear during a traffic accident. Through two additional surgeries, the ear will be reattached, and Burrage will have full hearing and sense of feeling in the organ, according to the statement.

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