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Doctor transplants functioning ear grown from patient's arm

The ear grew on the patient's arm for four months.

China News/Gou Yongqiang

What if your headphones exploded like this woman's did, but took your ear with it?

A Chinese plastic surgeon might have found an incredible solution -- not for the exploding headphones, but to replace your missing ear.

A surgery led by Dr. Guo Shuzhong on Thursday saw a man receiving a newly transplanted ear that was grown on his arm at a hospital in Xi'an, China, reported China News.

Shuzhong had the patient's new ear grown on his arm last November with the help of 3D printing technology. The entire procedure took four months of preparation and three operations to complete.

The patient, identified only by his surname Ji, had lost his right ear -- but not his hearing -- in a car accident more than a year ago.

Ji has been placed under observation and is expected to be discharged from the hospital in two weeks.

While the case is the first of its kind, 3D printing has long been explored for its potential to improve medical procedures. Last year, for instance, scientists successfully developed a 3D bioprinter that can generate replacement tissues fit for transplant procedures.

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