(RNN) – Did you hear about this?
A U.S. Army soldier who lost her ear in a near-fatal car accident now has a new one.
She grew it herself, with the help of doctors at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, TX.
Pvt. Shamika Burrage lost her left ear in an auto accident a couple of years ago.
The total ear reconstruction, the first of its kind in the Army, involved harvesting cartilage from the Soldier's ribs to carve a new ear out of the cartilage, which was then placed under the skin of the forearm to allow the ear to grow – U.S. Army
The surgery was over a year in the making for the 21-year-old. Doctors have successfully transplanted the ear from her arm to her head.
"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,” Burrage said. "I was just scared at first but wanted to see what (the doctor) could do."
She still has two more surgeries to go, but when she’s done she’ll have a fully functional ear.
"I didn't lose any hearing and (the doctor) opened the canal back up," Burrage said. Her ear canal had healed over after the ear was lost.
"It's been a long process for everything, but I'm back," she said.
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