A doctor from China successfully replaced a man’s lost ear by growing it on the patient’s arm and attaching it back to his head.
The patient, surnamed Ji, lost his ear one year ago in a car accident. Fortunately for him, he did not lose his hearing so he was fit for a complete ear reattachment procedure that took four months of preparation.
The surgery was conducted at the First Affiliated Hospital of Xian Jiaotong University in Xian, which is the capital of the Shaanxi province.
According to South China Morning Post, Ji’s ear reattachment surgery was headed by the hospital’s lead plastic surgeon, Guo Shuzhong, who regenerates ears for Chinese children.
The most interesting part of the whole procedure was the regeneration of an ear from the patient’s arm. The first two stages of the operation were focused on making Ji’s new ear.
A skin expander was implanted on Ji’s arm with the use of 3D printing technology. In order to begin shaping the ear, water had to be injected on the skin everyday.
During the second stage, doctors extracted cartilage from Ji’s ribs which shaped and allowed the new ear to grow.
The 7-hour procedure was a success but Shuzhong admitted that it was difficult for them to find a blood vessel to connect the new ear in order for it to function like a normal one.
“The whole operation had to be done using 10x magnifying surgical glasses and sutures thinner than human hair,” said Shuzhong.
Ji will be discharged from the hospital after two weeks and when his new ear functions normally.