Spanish hospital does 1st full-face transplant
Madrid, April 24, 2010
A hospital in Barcelona said it has carried out the world's first full-face transplant, giving a young man who lost his in an accident a new nose, skin, jaws, cheekbones, teeth and other features.
The operation was carried out by a 30-member medical team last month and took 24 hours to perform, according to Vall d'Hebron Hospital, Barcelona, said a report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
The patient now has a completely new face from his hairline down and only one visible scar, which looks like a wrinkle running across his neck, said Dr Joan Pere Barret, the surgeon who led the team.
"If you look him in the face, you see a normal person, like anyone else we have as a patient in the hospital," Barret said yesterday.
He declined to name the patient or give details of the accident five years ago in which he lost his face, saying only that he was a Spaniard between the ages of 20 and 40 and is recovering well.
He cannot yet speak, eat or smile, but can see and swallow saliva.
"He is coming along well. He sits up, he walks in his hospital room and he watches television," Barret said.
He said there have been 10 partial face transplant operations carried out in the world so far but this is the first involving a person's whole face. The world's first partial face transplant was carried out on a woman in France in 2005. Others have been done in the US and China.
Barret said his team used the same techniques of plastic and microsurgery as in those cases, and simply chose to try for a full-face transplant because the damage suffered by this man was so severe.
Since the accident, the patient has had to breathe and be fed through tubes and had problems speaking. Before this, he underwent surgery nine times. – TradeArabia news Service