In 2016 Army Pvt. Shamika Burrage was on her way back to Fort Bliss, Texas, from a family visit in Mississippi when her car’s tire blew out. The vehicle swerved off the road and she was ejected. She survived but lost an ear. She was so uncomfortable about the missing body part that she began to seek counseling. That’s when the surgeons at the medical center in El Paso got the idea to do total ear reconstruction — by growing her a new ear. On her own arm.
… Plastic surgeons at the center announced this week that they had successfully transplanted the new ear onto Burrage’s head, the first surgery of its kind for the Army. The medical feat involved harvesting cartilage from the soldier’s ribs to carve a whole new ear out of it. That cartilage was then placed under the skin of Burrage’s forearm to allow the ear to grow.