The world’s first face, jaw and tongue transplant has been carried out by doctors in Spain. Surgeons spent 16 hours operating on a 43-year-old man whose face had been horribly disfigured.
He will eventually be able to eat, taste, swallow and speak properly for the first time in 11 years.
The unnamed recipient, from the Canary Islands, lost the lower part of his face including his lower lips, jaw and tongue as a consequence of radiotherapy to treat a tumour.
The 30 surgeons at La Fe Hospital in Valencia finished the operation on Wednesday afternoon.
Dr Pedro Cavadas, who led the team, said: ‘The patient has already seen himself in the mirror and he is delighted.’
The donor was a 35-year-old Belgian living in Spain who was killed in a traffic accident.
Tuesday’s operation was the eighth involving a face since the surgery was pioneered in 2005.
This case was particularly difficult because previous surgery had rendered the veins, arteries and nerves normally connected in these operations useless, Cavadas said.
It comes after a series of high-profile face transplants this year.
Surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio performed one of the most extensive face transplants earlier this summer.
They transformed the face of Connie Culp, who was left horrifically disfigured after her husband blasted her face with a shotgun.
The 46-year-old mother of two had nothing but praise for her doctors and said she was no longer afraid to be seen.
Via Daily Mail