Pvt. Shamika Burrage, who hails from MS, is a supply clerk with 1st Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division. Afterward, when she woke up in the hospital, she wasn't whole.
She hopes to be able to get her ears pierced some day and use headphones.
The ear stayed in her skin for about a year. It was then that doctors explained to Burrage that she had the option to undergo a new reconstructive surgery in which they would grow a new ear from harvested cartilage.
No prosthetics were needed. Fortunately, "I didn't lose any hearing and (Johnson) opened the [ear] canal back up", Burrage says in the statement.
Dr. Johnson says, "I elevated a pocket of skin, preserving all of the things that were important, and placed the rib cartilage into the skin to let it heal".
A young soldier who lost her entire left ear in a auto crash when she was 19 will soon get a new one thanks to revolutionary new reconstructive surgery. "As a young active-duty Soldier, they deserve the best reconstruction they can get".
However, back in June of 2016, Burrage was in a awful auto accident. Burrage was ejected from the vehicle. Although her cousin managed to escape with minor wounds, Burrage suffered head injuries as well as compression fractures in the spine.
"I was on the ground, I just looked up and [her cousin] was right there. Then I remember people walking up to us, asking if we were okay and then I blacked out", said Burrage.
Had she received medical assistance 30 minutes later than she did, doctors said she would have bled to death. While she was initially scared about going through with the reconstruction, she said she wanted to see what doctors could do.
The surgery is hailed as "the first of its kind".
This is not a world-first surgery - in the 1990s scientists successfully grew a human ear on a mouse from cartilage.
Burrage, now 21, was hesitant at first, but ultimately made a decision to go through with the procedure. In 2012, a woman lost her ear to cancer and grew a replacement under her forearm skin, ABC News reported. Another time, Chinese doctors tried to duplicate the procedure for a man who lost an ear in a vehicle accident. This will enable her to having feeling in her ear once the rehabilitation process is complete. It's being used to cover up scar tissue around the jawline, also resulting from the crash.
Burrage did not want to go through with the surgery because of the risks involved. "(The ear) will have fresh arteries fresh veins and even a fresh nerve so she'll be able to feel it", Johnson said in the press release.