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Doctors grow artificial ear in a patient's forearm

Doctors grow artificial ear in a patient's forearm



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Man lost his right ear in an accident
A plastic surgeon from China performed a spectacular operation: he made a new ear out of rib tissue and transplanted it into a patient's forearm. The newly created sensory organ is to be transplanted to the head in three to four months, the medical doctor Guo Shuzhong told the daily China Daily.

The patient suffered greatly from the loss
It sounds a bit strange at first, but could soon bring a man from China a lot more quality of life: an artificial ear made of rib cartilage that develops in the patient's forearm and is later to be transplanted to the head. The Chinese doctor Guo Shuzhong from the Jiaotong University Hospital in Xi’an has accomplished this unique procedure, reports “China Daily”.

Mr. Ji, who was in his late thirties, lost his right ear in a traffic accident a year ago and has suffered greatly since then. "I always felt incomplete," said the man on the Chinese news site "Huanqiu."

Doctors are developing a three-stage reconstruction plan
Guo Shuzhong, who has more than 30 years of experience in the field of reconstructive surgery, took care of the matter and worked with his colleague Shu Maoguo to develop a three-stage plan to reconstruct the ear with part of the patient's costal cartilage. In the first phase, doctors pushed a skin expander into the patient's right forearm and injected water regularly to stretch the skin.

In the second phase, they removed part of the costal cartilage and formed a new auricle from it. This was then transplanted under the expanded skin in order to be able to develop accordingly.

"The third phase of the operation, where the new ear will be transplanted onto Ji's head, is scheduled to be completed in three or four months," said Shu Maoguo. Because to be able to adapt the ear “perfectly” for the patient, one would have to wait until the artificial sensory organ has fully grown.

Ear transplant is said to be the last procedure
The transplantation of the artificial sensory organ is said to be the last intervention after a long series of previous operations since the accident. Due to severe facial injuries, Ji had to undergo several reconstructions in the mouth and jaw area.

It is not yet clear whether Mr. Ji will actually be able to hear anything again with the new ear cup in the future. This is because an intact inner ear is necessary for full functionality. According to the report, however, the patient is very happy with the result. "It looks exactly like my old ear," said Ji when he saw the growing ear on his right arm for the first time.

Method has been used for a long time

Ji's story is not the first case in which doctors have created an artificial ear. In 2012, for example, the method was used by the then 41-year-old American Sherrie Walter. The woman had lost her ear due to skin cancer, according to the ABC News. Back then, the patient's doctors removed cartilage from the chest to form a new ear. This was then placed under the skin of the forearm to grow. After four months, the new ear was transplanted to the head. (No)

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