Thursday, 18 Dec, 2008 Health & Fitness

Almost Total Face Transplant Carried Out in United States


It took US doctors from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio 22 hours to perform world's first near full face transplant. A multidisciplinary team of specialists managed to replace 80 percent of face of a woman who was unable to smile, eat, talk or breathe independently due to a serious trauma. Doctors kept only the upper eyelids, forehead, lower lip and chin.

The American surgeons informed that a team of eight surgeons performed the transplant operation. A report released by the Los Angeles Times states that one group of surgeons worked nine hours on the removal of donor's face. They successfully removed skin, mid-facial muscles, upper lip, nose, most of the nasal sinuses, upper jaw, several teeth, and facial nerve. The second group needed three hours to connect the blood vessels from the patient to those of the donor, thus being able to restore the blood flow. Surgeons were satisfied with the performed procedure, especially when the skin became pink. Afterwards, they started putting together the layers of the face. No information on both, the donor and the patient has been provided in interests of privacy.

According to the clinic's press statement, surgeons carried out world's most complex face transplant. The operation involved putting together different parts of a human face, including the nose and the eyelids and different kinds of tissues - skin, muscle, bone, blood vessels and nerves.

Dr Maria Siemionow, Director of Plastic Surgery Research and Head of Microsurgery Training, at the Cleveland Clinic, was the one to head the transplant team. She proved to have a big experience in treating patients with severe facial dysfunctions.

"Patients with facial disfigurement have very difficult challenges in society. We hope that one day we may be able to help the tens of thousands of patients who are quietly suffering," she said.

The entire team of specialists, who worked on the difficult operation, featured experts in dermatology, plastic surgery, hand surgery, general and transplant surgery, bioethics, social work, psychology, psychiatry, nursing, infectious diseases, dentistry, pharmacy, ophthalmology. They received support from the environmental services and security departments.

Due to the fact that surgeons performed an experimental operation, hospital decided to pay for all expenses. According to Los Angeles Times report, no additional information on the cost has been offered. With the help of physiotherapy the patient will be able to talk, blink, breathe and smile without help.

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