Plastic surgeons in China have successfully regenerated a patient's ear - on his arm - in an experiment one of the doctors compared to "challenging God".
Surgeons at First Hospital in northwest China's Shaanxi province grew the ear for a patient, Ji, who lost his in a car accident a year ago. It was made with Ji's own cartilage.
"We buried a dilator inside his arm three or four months ago," said Guo Shuzhong, professor of plastic surgery at the hospital.
"Then we have injected a little water every day, which produced a lump on the arm, to the effect a piece of skin was made. The skin must be thin, since only when it is thin enough can it be carved into a good shape.
"With the skin available, we made a cut... on one side of his chest and took out three gristles from there. Then we did carvings, modelling after the ear he has, and we put the ear-shaped carving inside the lump."
The ear (CCTV)
Ji suffered psychological trauma after he lost his right ear, and life became different for him.
"I thought I'm done, and couldn't see anyone in my life. I was in pain. When I had to walk out, I would wear a hat to cover where I used to have the ear, for fear of scaring others. Without my ear, water flew into the organ when I washed my face and took a shower."
Prof Guo said shaping the gristle into an ear is no easy job.
"The most difficult part is the carving. This is artistic creation. An ear has a dozen anatomical structures, and is the most complicated component in our body. It is very difficult to do it the same as the one created by God."
Prof Guo said the patient did not lose his hearing, but the surgery could help Ji regain his confidence.
"It was a great job. I'm so grateful to Prof Guo," said Ji.
"Now I'm eager to see it grow faster so the doctors can plant it back on my head."
APTN / Newshub.