Image credit – US Army


There are animals out there who can regenerate certain body parts, and to a certain extent humans also have regenerative features, but not to the extent of regenerating missing limbs. However it seems that doctors have come up with a different approach, which is to try and regrow a missing appendage by transplanting it onto a different part of our body.

Such is the case with Private Shamika Burrage who lost her ear in a 2016 car accident, and where she opted to regrow her ear instead of using a prosthetic. According to Burrage, “I didn’t feel comfortable with the way I looked so the provider referred me to plastic surgery. 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. I was going to go with the prosthetic, to avoid more scarring but I wanted a real ear.”

What the surgeons did was they first removed cartilage from her rib to carve a new ear. They then transplanted the ear onto her forearm so that it would grow new blood vessels so that it would have feeling. This is actually not the first time that such surgery has been conducted, but it seems that it is the first of its kind in the US Army.

According to Lt. Col. Owen Johnson III, chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery, “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.”

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