A Chinese man whose nose was severely disfigured following a car accident will soon get a replacement—in the form of a nose that has been growing on his forehead.
A video from Chinese television station CCTV shows doctors checking the nose’s progress on the forehead of a 22-year-old man named Xiaolian at a hospital in Fuzhou located in the Fujian province, Reuters reports.
The man reportedly only got basic medical care after he was involved in a car accident last year. He developed an infection that corroded the cartilage in his nose, which made reconstruction surgery impossible.
That’s when they decided to grow a new one. Doctors placed a tissue expander into the man’s forehead that stretched out his skin, fashioning it into the shape of a nose. They then took cartilage from his rib and placed it in his forehead, allowing the skin to grow over the cartilage scaffolding.
That’s similar to how Johns Hopkins Medicine doctors gave a woman a new ear in 2012 following an aggressive bout of skin cancer. Doctors took rib cartilage from 42-year-old Sherrie Walter last year and placed it under her forearm for four months while it got nourished by neighboring blood cells and grew skin. Doctors hope the ear will last for decades.
Xiaolian’s surgeons said that the new nose is in good shape after nine months of growing on his forehead, and the transplant could be performed soon, local media reported.