In the latest of innovative reconstructive surgery techniques, US plastic surgeons grow an ear from a woman's cartilage. The ear being grown will replace the ear that Shamika Burrage lost two years ago in a nearly fatal car accident.
No prosthetics were needed. Instead, plastic surgeons used the her own cartilage.
The ear was later attached to Burrage's head by surgeons at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso. Doctors said she recovered her hearing and that the operation was a success.
The total ear reconstruction involved doctors carving a new ear out of cartilage harvested from her ribs. The ear was then placed under her forearm skin to let it grow.
The procedure is one of the most complicated ear constructions and allows for the formation of new blood vessels in the cartilage.
The surgery is a type of microvascular free tissue transfer, or a procedure in which tissue such as skin, muscle, or bone is taken from one area of the body to reconstruct another.
To avoid as much scarring as possible, Johnson decided to place the cartilage into Burrage's forearm to allow for new blood vessels to form in a process called neovascularization. "(The ear) will have fresh arteries fresh veins and even a fresh nerve so she'll be able to feel it"
This means she will also have feeling in her new ear once rehabilitation is complete.