Surgeons took cartilage from Private First Calss Shamika Burrage's ribs and implanted it under the skin in her forearm to grow for a year. Johns Hopkins Hospital also used a similar procedure for a cancer patient who lost her ear, ABC News reports, and earlier this year, doctors in China used a combination of 3-D printing and cartilage harvesting to grow new ears for five children with a birth defect called microtia, CNN reports.
Her cousin was 8 months pregnant at the time of the crash and managed to only suffer minor injuries, while Burrage suffered head injuries, compression fractures in the spine, road rash, and the total loss of her left ear. "As a young active-duty Soldier, they deserve the best reconstruction they can get".
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In 2016, Private Shamika Burrage was injured in a auto accident when a tire blew and her vehicle veered off the road and flipped multiple times. Uncertain about the procedure at first, Burrage ultimately made a decision to go ahead with the total ear reconstruction. And yet, until a few days ago, Burrage's left ear was not on her head - it was on her arm. It was there that she was told by doctors that, had she not gotten the medical attention she did, she could have bled to death.
The ear has since been attached after Johnson reopened Burrage's ear canal, which had closed up due to the accident. The soldier lost her left ear in a 2016 auto accident while returning to Fort Bliss, Texas, after visiting family.
"It's been a long process for everything", she said, "but I'm back". While many civilians around the world have successfully undergone the procedure, Burrage is the first American soldier to receive the novel reconstruction process, according to a statement from the U.S. Army.
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Despite her initial hesitance and the multiple surgeries she'll eventually have to endure, Burrage said she's happy with her decision.
After going through months of rehab, Burrage, who wasn't feeling comfortable with her looks, chose to speak with a surgeon regarding her ear options. "I was just scared at first". Her entire left ear was gone.
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