September 28, 2012
Woman Has Replacement Ear Grown On Her Arm
|In a groundbreaking and complicated set of surgeries, Johns Hopkins doctors have attached a new ear made from Sherrie Walters own tissue.|
You don’t have to tell Walters her story sounds like science fiction. “No, I feel like an experiment,” Walters said.
The discovery of a rapidly-spreading basal cell cancer in her ear in 2008 required the removal of part of her ear, part of her skull and her left ear canal. But now, in a groundbreaking and complicated set of surgeries, Johns Hopkins doctors have attached a new ear made from Walters’ own tissue.
“I thought of this exact strategy many years before and really was looking for the right patient to try it on,” said renowned plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Patrick Byrne.
Byrne later surgically attached the ear and its blood vessels. Then surgery added shape and detail to the ear.
“We started making jokes just to try to get used to it and I was like, `Can you hear me? Can you hear me?’ said Sherrie’s husband, Damien.
“In my opinion, how it’s just a matter of time as the swelling goes down and it heals, I believe she will have a normal looking ear,” said Byrne.
“It just didn’t seem like anything we’d ever heard of so to see the progression and to see how everything has come out has been just great to kind of come to fruition,” said Walters.
Though recovery isn’t over, Sherrie considers herself lucky and hopes others learn from her story.
“And it’s a cliche but use the sunscreen and if you are not sure about something, get it checked because that’s what I didn’t do,” she said.
The technique used in Walter's case involved recreating the ear from her own tissue, but in the future regenerative medicine methods using biological scaffolds could also be used. The work of Anthony Atala, pioneering such methods is one potential path, which may eliminate the need for the invasive surgery used on Walter's arm in this case.
She still has two more minor surgeries to go. If all continues to go well, her doctor hopes the newly constructed ear will last for decades.
SOURCE CBS Baltimore
|By 33rd Square||Subscribe to 33rd Square|
Tags: Anthony Atala, cancer, ear, Johns Hopkins University, medicine, plastic surgery, regenerative medicine
33rd Square explores technological progress in AI, robotics, genomics, neuroscience, nanotechnology, art, design and the future as humanity encroaches on The Singularity.