Woman grows herself a new ear on her arm

  • 13/05/2018
Woman grows herself a new ear on her arm.
Woman grows herself a new ear on her arm. Photo credit: Live Science

Two years ago US Army Private Shamika Burrage lost her ear in a serious car accident. Now she is hearing again after growing her own replacement - on her arm.

Pte Burrage, 21, told The Independent she was going to with a prosthetic one, but to avoid more scarring following the accident she opted for a real ear.

In a first-of-its-kind procedure, army surgeons were able to reconstruct and grow a new ear for Pte Burrage on her forearm.

Using cartilage from her ribs, they carved it into the shape of an ear and placed it under the skin on her forearm to let it grow.

Since the ear has all new veins, nerves and arteries it will be able to feel and hear the same as if it was original ear.

The surgery is being hailed one of the most complicated ever in US history.

Lt Col Owen Johnson III, chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at William Beaumont Army Medical Centre in El Paso, Texas told Live Science the goal is - by the time she's done with all this - that it looks good, it works, and that in five years if somebody doesn't know her, they won't notice.

Whilst she can hear now, she still has a while to go with her rehabilitation.

This is not a world-first surgery - in the 1990s scientists successfully grew a human ear on a mouse from cartilage.