ear grows under Sherrie Walter's arm. The skin cancer sufferer lost her
left ear and doctors at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland grew
another using her own tissue under her forearm. (John Hopkins
Doctors in Maryland have successfully grown an ear on a skin cancer patient's arm to replace the one she lost to the disease.
Sherrie Walter grew the cartilage for a left ear on her forearm
for about four months before doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in
Baltimore surgically moved it to her head.
"I just thought I was something from science fiction," the 42-year-old mother of two told ABC News.
In what's being called the most complicated ear reconstruction in
North America, doctors removed cartilage from her ribs and put it under
Last week, surgeons created an earlobe and reshaped it to look like her other ear.
She'll likely need a few more surgeries to complete the ear.
She lost her previous one from basal-cell carcinoma, that started
with a sore and eventually led to the removal of her entire ear.
Walter said she's happy to not suffer with the alternative - a
prosthetic ear - that would have had to be attached every day with tape
"The concept of having to tape something to my skin every day
didn't feel like that was who I was," Walter told ABC News. "I could
just see my kids running around with it, yelling, 'I have mommy's ear!'"