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Woman Successfully Grows Ear From Arm

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the i-heard-that dept.

Medicine 74

An anonymous reader writes "In 2008, Sherrie Walters, now 42 years old, discovered that she had rapidly spreading basal cell cancer in her ear. The disease is a type of skin cancer. The doctors pursued an aggressive treatment to combat the destructive disease, removing her ear, part of her skull, and her left ear canal. Though Walters was left without an ear, she was still able to hear with the help of a special hearing aid. A few months ago, doctors from the renowned Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore decided to try a new procedure on Walters. Using cartilage from her rib, the doctors stitched a new ear to match her right one. Then their creation was implanted under the skin of her forearm, where the ear grew for months. ...Doctors attached the ear and blood vessels surgically. Another surgery, conducted this week, gave the ear shape and detail. Dr. Patrick Byrne, a revered plastic and reconstructive surgeon, says that after the swelling goes down and the ear heals, Walters will have an ear that both looks and functions normally."

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I wonder... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504837)

Was that JUST the canal regrown or the Cochlear as well??

Re:I wonder... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505061)

It was just the external part of the ear, or pinna. Her inner ear, including the cochlea, must have been functional to some extent because she was able to use a hearing aid (presumably a bone anchored hearing aid). The cochlea is not a 'simple' cartaliginous structure like the pinna. It is a complex sensory organ housed within a fluid-filled bony labyrinth, so not something that could be regrown using the technique described. The closest thing to regrowing a cochlea possible at present is probably stem cell research involving inner ear hair cell and auditory nerve regeneration, although obviously electronic cochlear implants and auditory brain stem implants are available.

It would have been more impressive (2)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 2 years ago | (#41506171)

It would have been much more impressive (and much more headline-worthy), if she and her medical team had grown a replacement arm from an ear, or other pieces of her body. After all, not even $deity [whywontgod...putees.com] can do that.

Re:It would have been more impressive (4, Funny)

Zocalo (252965) | about 2 years ago | (#41507431)

No, the ultimate impressive achievement would be to grow the new ear in the middle of the forehead. That way it would be the final front-ear.

Re:It would have been more impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41518423)

Better still, if they could grow a you-know-what on the palm of your hand....that would be useful.

Re:I wonder... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505125)

Congrats, Sherrie.

But if I was you, I'd stay away from Mike Tyson.

Re:I wonder... (3, Informative)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 2 years ago | (#41505447)

Was that JUST the canal regrown or the Cochlear as well??

Just the outside cartridge. You can see photos of the whole procedure here, including the arm surgury (warning: gruesome):
http://cbsbaltimore.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/sw-microvascular-ear-recon-rfff.pptx [wordpress.com]

It is a Powerpoint slideshow, but opens fine in LibreOffice 3.4.

Re:I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41508189)

Why? They never listen anyways unless its gossip or celebs or shoes.

Holy @#$%... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504873)

what did all that cost?

Re:Holy @#$%... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505045)

Nothing because of Obamacare so basically it came out of Mitt Romney's pocket.

Re:Holy @#$%... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505111)

Somehow, I'm completely ok with this.

Re:Holy @#$%... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41509131)

treating fat people, diabetes, smoking and other such diseases brought upon by the free will of the diseased by forcing someone else to pay will only last so long.

How is that any different than now? (2)

bigtrike (904535) | about 2 years ago | (#41512583)

We've been doing it for at least a century already. Any time you go to a hospital, if you pay your bill, you're effectively paying for the people who can't or won't pay for insurance.

Re:Holy @#$%... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505099)

Can't you read? They used her rib and arm, so it certainly didn't cost an arm and a leg ...

Re:Holy @#$%... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505139)

So women are created from men's ribs and ears are created from women's ribs?

Re:Holy @#$%... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505383)

An arm and a leg.

Vat (1)

lyuden (2009390) | about 2 years ago | (#41504885)

I like the idea but I would prefer some external vat to grow my replacement organs.

Re:Vat (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504901)

And we all know the organ you would start out with

Re:Vat (2)

MisterSquid (231834) | about 2 years ago | (#41505651)

What I find really uncanny is that from one perspective this is an example of life imitating art.

The somewhat infamous and critically celebrated Stelarc [wikipedia.org] has conducted a few experiments on his body to attach new sensory organs to his body and connect his body to larger networks. Ping body [nyu.edu] is a pretty famous one, but the one I have in mind is his "Ear on Arm [stelarc.org] ". Partially quoting:

The EAR ON ARM has required 2 surgeries thus far. An extra ear is presently being constructed on my forearm: A left ear on a left arm. An ear that not only hears but also transmits. A facial feature has been replicated, relocated and will now be rewired for alternate capabilities. Excess skin was created with an implanted skin expander in the forearm. By injecting saline solution into a subcutaneous port, the kidney shaped silicon implant stretched the skin, forming a pocket of excess skin that could be used in surgically constructing the ear. The body is a living system which isn't easy to surgically sculpt. And recovery time is needed after the surgical procedures. There were several serious problems that occurred: a necrosis during the skin expansion process necessitated excising it and rotating the position of the ear around the arm. Ironically, this proved to be the original site that the 3D model and animation was visualized. Anyway, the inner forearm was anatomically a good site for the ear construction. The skin is thin and smooth there, and ergonomically locating it on the inner forearm minimizes the inadvertent knocking or scraping of the ear.

Title is misleading. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504921)

Woman Successfully Grows Ear on Arm from "other body parts".

Gives a whole new meaning... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504953)

to "don't put anything other than your elbow in your ear".

Re:Gives a whole new meaning... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505387)

and "talk to the hand", is making more sense.

Re:Gives a whole new meaning... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505521)

Raise your arms all those who'd like to hear me better

Re:Gives a whole new meaning... (1)

ryzvonusef (1151717) | about 2 years ago | (#41505773)

Huh?

I have heard a lot of phrases, but never encountered that one. What does it even mean? Google is not helpful (it leads to your post) :(

Re:Gives a whole new meaning... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 2 years ago | (#41505821)

I remember some health class back in first or second grade where they told us (when talking about ear health and cleaning - q-tips and such) never to put anything sharper than your elbow into your ear. That would have made it sometime in the mid-70s. I thought it was a rather odd statelement back then, and it's still odd today.

Re:Gives a whole new meaning... (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | about 2 years ago | (#41505855)

Try searching again without surrounding the phrase with quotes. If you let Google do a partial match then it will find plenty of pages with variations on the saying. EG. Never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear.

It is an old saying telling you not to stick things in your ear to clean it of earwax. Not only can you cause damage, but you lose the benefits of earwax.

So why mention the elbow? Because it won't fit in you ear, and you also can't touch your ear with your elbow even if it did fit.

Re:Gives a whole new meaning... (1)

davewoods (2450314) | about 2 years ago | (#41529173)

Maybe we could just simplify the statement to stave confusion?
"Never put anything in your ear"
Perfect.

Also in the news (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#41504971)

Politician successfully grows arse from elbow. Or .... was it elbow from arse? he doesn't seem to be clear on this one?

Ear growing from arm? (0)

Azure Flash (2440904) | about 2 years ago | (#41504977)

You've got an ear on your arm now, can you really call that a success?

Re:Ear growing from arm? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505019)

The part of the summary which says "Doctors attached the ear and blood vessels surgically" is talking about surgically attaching them to her head, not her arm, so this actually does seem to be a pretty awesome success.

Great writing (3, Funny)

jamesl (106902) | about 2 years ago | (#41504991)

renowned Johns Hopkins
a revered reconstructive and plastic surgeon.

I hope it's just an oversight by the poster rather than the revered doctor that has left the "ear" implanted under the skin of her forearm.

Re:Great writing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505017)

Well keep in mind that they claim it was the Woman who grew the ear, when in reality the Doctors implanted it in her arm which is an entirely different story. The first implying an ear just up and grew itself on her arm, the second being more accurate in that it was implanted for growth by a medical team.

So I guess starting from there it's no surprise the rest of the article is also shit.

Re:Great writing (1)

robophilosopher (847226) | about 2 years ago | (#41505063)

A re-vered reconstructive plastic surgeon and his re-eared patient...

Re:Great writing (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#41505081)

Thats neither ear nor there.

Amazing! (5, Informative)

olau (314197) | about 2 years ago | (#41505087)

Check the photo of the ear in the arm [medicaldaily.com] . Awesome times we live in!

Re:Amazing! (3, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#41505165)

Apparently, she was all ears after the doctors told her that they could fix her.

Vagina (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505451)

Awesome times would be when they can grow a vagina on my hand.

Re:Vagina (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41506037)

High fives become increasingly awkward as the growth progresses..

Re:Vagina (1)

drkim (1559875) | about 2 years ago | (#41506545)

Awesome times would be when they can grow a vagina on my hand.

But it would be even worse when you can't get that one to put out either...

Re:Amazing! (1)

Zaiff Urgulbunger (591514) | about 2 years ago | (#41505517)

Over recent years, I've been following such developments with great interest. However, I was under the impression that the plan was to use ears grown on mice and train them to scurry into position... have the plans been changed?

Re:Amazing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41507385)

I think better placement than the forearm would be on the vagina, easier to keep it tucked away out of sight while you are growing it

This begs the question... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505151)

...when can I grow myself a 10 inch dick????

Re:This begs the question... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505345)

You jest, however for circumsized males it is possible to grow new skin to replace the foreskin that was removed. For the last 1.5 years I have had much success using this $75 device: http://www.catstretcher.com./ [www.catstretcher.com] (tip, but a few spare plastic rods and the fastener clips, maybe 3-4 of each; these parts only cost about 3-4$ and they can 'wear').

If you study the matter, you might learn that things down there (glands of skin) should be much more like the moist inner skin of your mouth than the dry skin an your arm. That is what the foreskin does, and in doing so sensitivity is greater enhanced (er, restored, to a point).

Re:This begs the question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41512599)

That is what the foreskin does, and in doing so sensitivity is greater enhanced (er, restored, to a point).

Eh, sort of. What it really does is make it easier to ram it into an unwilling vagina. It's an evolutionary trait which doesn't really serve any useful purpose in human society (for the most part) and hasn't for a very long time.
The drawback to the foreskin is that it contributes to a much higher rate of yeast infections and urinary tract infections, especially in infants and boys around the age of puberty.

But no matter what you've heard, having or not having the foreskin has absolutely no bearing on the size of your erection.

The next body modification craze . . . ? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 years ago | (#41505161)

Anyone can get inked or pierced . . . but an extra ear or two . . . ? That is surely something that will annoy your parents:

"Why can't you just grow your hair long, like we did in the hippie 60's, or cut it short and color it green, like we did in the punk 80's?"

Right now, this was done to replace something that was missing. Will this technology advance, so you can add features that you didn't have before? Like, webbed feet and gill slits?

Re:The next body modification craze . . . ? (1)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | about 2 years ago | (#41505307)

I could happily give all my money to the first guy who can give me functional cat ears. (And a functional cat tail as a bonus

Re:The next body modification craze . . . ? (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about 2 years ago | (#41505339)

I could happily give all my money to the first guy who can give me functional cat ears. (And a functional cat tail as a bonus

Item One: Cat Ears [huffingtonpost.com]
Item Two: Waggy Tail [cnet.com]

Please call me to arrange payment.

Re:The next body modification craze . . . ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505905)

I wonder what other appendages could be grown like this ...

"Why the powerpoint?"... (1)

2fuf (993808) | about 2 years ago | (#41505233)

...was the first thing I could think. Why not just a slideshow. Then I opened the powerpoint and understood :-/ that's your typical NSFL medical science going on there.

Couldn't help but thinking... (2)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#41505343)

Woman Successfully Grows Ear From Arm

This could bring new meaning to that silly gesture/expression "talk to the hand."

Perplexing headline (0)

Essequemodeia (1030028) | about 2 years ago | (#41505349)

I find it amusing that the converse of that headline would read "Ear Doesn't Grow On Woman's Arm." Nothing to see here. Please keep moving.

DR PHIBES WOULD BE ENVIOUS !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505409)

Or is that, IS ENVIOUS ??

reporting bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505421)

"the renowned Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore" ...
"Dr. Patrick Byrne, a revered plastic and reconstructive surgeon"

Was this article submitted by the JHU marketing department? The words "renowned" and "revered" are being used in an interesting way to color our perception of this event. Sounds like someone really, really wants us to have a good opinion of JHU. Check your own opinions of JHU at the door. No reporting bias here.

As someone who has seen incompetent doctors at the JHU medical center (and quite a few good ones) I think the blanket worshipful attitude is a bit overdone. It's a good university hospital. No need to get on your knees, though.

Is this kind of like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505465)

Is this kind of like a mediocre version of what doctors could do if stem cell research laws weren't so retarded?

Re:Is this kind of like... (1)

vuo (156163) | about 2 years ago | (#41508709)

Slashdot reported earlier [slashdot.org] of a new upper jaw grown inside the body, not from the patient's excised bone, but from his stem cells. The operation in this post, as far as I understand, is an established part of modern medicine: epithelial tissue is excised, reshaped and reimplanted. This is not novel; it has been done since World War I.

What's next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505489)

Grow nose from asshole?

That's right. (1)

Smirker (695167) | about 2 years ago | (#41505601)

She was left without an ear and without a left ear.

Re:That's right. (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#41505879)

She was left without an ear and without a left ear.

Or..."She was left earless".

There was a time i wanted to work at JHU (1)

nopainogain (1091795) | about 2 years ago | (#41505883)

Fortunately for the rest of the world, they never offered me a job. They have so many profoundly brilliant people there, I'd have drug the place down. Much much kudos to those involved in the research that led to breakthroughs like this one.

She was very open about it (4, Informative)

RoboElvi (2742133) | about 2 years ago | (#41505999)

I worked with her up to a year ago when she was transferred. She wore a compression sleeve over the ear on her left arm, but was cool with showing anyone who asked about it.

Matt Schaub are you reading this? (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 2 years ago | (#41506007)

Rumor has it you may need a little extra ear after that hit you took last week

best type of "transplant" (1)

p51d007 (656414) | about 2 years ago | (#41506347)

I think the more they use this technique, the more likely you can use your own body for replacement parts. Granted, if you need a heart transplant, you might need it right now, but for something like congestive heart failure, which would allow time, you could possibly use your own tissue to grow a new one in a lab, then have it transplanted, and avoiding the use of antirejection drugs for the rest of your life.

Why Stop There? (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 2 years ago | (#41506463)

I know some body art/piercing people who are running out of places to punch holes in their ears. They could grow like 5 or 6 ears along each arm and be set for piercing locations for life!

must be nice (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#41506499)

to have good health insurance in the USA

I know you're all thinking it... (2)

drkim (1559875) | about 2 years ago | (#41506585)

I know you're all thinking it, so I don't even need to post the actual thought...

...but, most of us are looking forward to the day we can say, "Baby, you make me wish I had three hands!!!"

This has been and is done regularly in Brazil (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41506789)

There is a specialist in Sao Paulo who can do this.

- You get kidnapped, they cut an ear, send it to your family as "proof".

- Your family pays, you go home, you visit the specialist, he makes your a new ear from cartilage from your rib.

I actually saw once an interview from a women who was kidnapped twice and saw the specialist twice. No kidding.

hear eels (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 2 years ago | (#41507401)

.. was what I was reading from "when the ear heals".
Maybe I need eye-surgery? Brain surgery?

bjd

I thought I'd never see the day... (1)

GODISNOWHERE (2741453) | about 2 years ago | (#41508237)

When a person has a medical excuse for not knowing their ass from their elbow.

Obligatory Adam and Eve reference?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41509305)

Didn't God create an entire woman from a rib?

Something fishy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41510065)

Half the population are growing anchovies but that ain't on their arms.

Talk to the hand.... (1)

Gob Gob (306857) | about 2 years ago | (#41511373)

See sub. ;-)

First comment (1)

nischal360 (2713011) | about 2 years ago | (#41511381)

First comment

Laboratory Mouse Ear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41513097)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacanti_mouse

I remember the earlier story where a mouse grew a human ear. It's great to know this mouse didn't suffer in vain.

Next (1)

peetm (781139) | about 2 years ago | (#41523229)

Now, an arse from an elbow can't be too far away!

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