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Medical Procedure Grows New Ear from Forearm

Reconstructive surgeons at a military medical center have found a novel way to treat a woman who lost an ear. Army private Shamika Burrage survived a near-fatal car accident in 2016 but lost her left ear in the process. However, thanks to Lt. Col. Owen Johnson III, chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, she was able to grow a new one–from her forearm.

The procedure is called prelaminated forearm free flap, and it's designed to reduce scarring and promote more blood flow by allowing new blood vessels to flow. Dr. Johnson and his team of surgeons were able to harvest cartilage from Burrage's ribcage, shape it into an ear, and then grow that ear under the skin of her forearm.

Burrage initially considered a prosthetic ear but didn't like the look of it. When doctors informed her of the potential reconstruction, she was initially shocked, but eventually came around.

"The whole goal is by the time she's done with all this, it looks good, it (has feeling), and in five years if somebody doesn't know her they won't notice," Johnson said. "As a young active-duty soldier, they deserve the best reconstruction they can get."

Potential Preaching Angles: God makes all things new, even when redemption seems impossible, God is able.

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