First Complete Face Transplant Performed
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24 April 2010
A Team of 30 Doctors in Spain Conducts 22-Hour-Long Surgery to Give Patient his Looks Back
A Spanish hospital said it has performed the world7’s first complete face transplant in March on a man who could not swallow, breath or talk normally following an accident five years ago.
While 11 other face transplants have been carried out around the world previously, Barcelona’s Vall d’Hebron hospital said on Thursday that they involved only part of the patient’s face.
During the 22–hour–long operation, the unidentified young man received new facial muscles, skin, nose, lips, jaw, teeth, palate and cheekbones, the leader of the medical team that carried out the procedure, Joan Pere Barret, told a news conference.
A team of 30 experts carried out the transplant on March 20 and care was taken to ensure that the patient’s new face was created in the likeness of the face he had before the unspecified accident and did not resemble that of the anonymous donor.
“Relatives say that he looks in some areas like he did before the accident, but he doesn’t look like the donor at all, he’s changed completely,” said Barret.
“The patient has scars on his forehead and neck, but in the future they will be fully concealed,” he added.
A week after the operation, the patient asked to look at himself in the mirror and was satisfied with what he saw, said Barret. “He saw himself in the mirror when he wanted to and when psychologists said that he was ready. It was a week after the operation and he reacted well, he was calm and satisfied,” he said.
The first successful face transplant was performed in France in 2005 on Isabelle Dinoire, a 38–year–old woman who had been mauled by her dog.
Since then face transplants have been carried out in China, the United States and Spain, which carried out its first such operation in August 2009. Hospitals in Spain have performed two partial face transplants, in Valencia and Seville. Spain’s public health care systemis ranked the seventh best in the world by the World Health Organisation.
The patient in Spain underwent psychiatric tests before the operation to determine if he would be able to confront having a totally new face, the hospital said. He is expected to remain hospitalized for two months.
The man, who is in his thirties, suffered severe disfigurement and lost his nose, jaw, and other parts of his face when he accidentally shot himself in 2005, reported the Times. Agencies