Doctors who grew a man a new ear on his forearm following a serious traffic accident have now transplanted the organ onto his head.
Guo Shuzhong, one of China’s leading plastic surgeons, performed the complex microsurgery this week and announced that blood was successfully flowing into the patient Ji’s new right ear.
The medic from the First Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University in Xi’an, capital of north-western China’s Shaanxi Province, was assigned to the case in 2016 after Ji was admitted with severe injuries to the right side of his face.
The man lost his right ear in the road accident and the damage was so serious that doctors were not able to regenerate his ear over the scar.
That is when Guo decided to "plant" an artificial ear on Ji’s forearm - a procedure done in November last year.
The realistic ear, which was modelled with the help of 3D-printing technology, was made with cartilage from the patient’s ribs and attached to his forearm under a piece of expanded skin.
There it was allowed to grow for several months until experts deemed it ready for transplant.
This week’s operation took Guo and his team seven hours to complete, but they were happy to report that it was successful, having detected blood flowing into the organ.
Ji will remain in hospital under observation for about two weeks until his new ear is fully functioning, at which point he will be allowed to go home.
Guo said he and his team repeat the miracle procedure for about 500 children every year.