The ear being grown will replace the ear that Army private Shamika Burrage lost two years ago in a almost fatal auto accident. Following the crash, she was left with two options to fix the missing ear.
"The whole goal is by the time she's done with all this, it looks good, it's sensate, and in five years if somebody doesn't know her they won't notice", Johnson says of the operation.
The procedure involved placing the new "ear" created from her cartilage into Burrage's forearm to allow for the formation of new blood vessels.
No prosthetics were needed. Rather, cosmetic surgeons utilized the soldier's very own cartilage material.
A team of doctors at William Beaumont Army Medical Center had a plan to use a piece of her own body to create a new ear.
Losing an ear was not the only injury Burrage suffered on that fateful day of the auto crash. They used a piece of cartilage from her rib cage and placed it under the skin on her arm.
Lt. Col. Owen Johnson III, the chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery explained the reason why the doctors were able to complete this procedure.
"As a young active-duty soldier, they deserve the best reconstruction they can get". "We were driving and my front tire blew, which sent the vehicle off road and I hit the brake".
Pvt. Shamika Burrage, who hails from MS, is a supply clerk with 1st Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division. While her relative took care of to run away with only small injuries, Burrage experienced head injuries in addition to compression cracks in the back. "Then I remember people walking up to us, asking if we were okay and then I blacked out", said Burrage.
Had she received medical assistance 30 minutes later than she did, doctors said she would have bled to death.
Whilst she can hear now, she still has a while to go with her rehabilitation. "I was just scared at first but wanted to see what he could do".
The surgery is hailed as "the first of its kind".
In the 1990s, a shocking, but real, photo of a mouse with what appeared to be a human ear attached to its back was widely circulated. The first was a woman who lost her ear due to disease but grew a new one in her arm.
After two months Shamika chose to come around and go through with the surgery. Nearly two years after her accident, plastic surgeons at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center have given the now 21-year-old a new ear that was grown from her own cartilage and tissue.
This kind of ear reconstruction is not completely new in the surgical world, with at least two other cases as precedents, in which doctors performed procedures similar to what Burrage underwent.