A team of 30 Spanish doctors say
they have successfully performed the world’s first full face transplant.
A man injured in a shooting
accident received the entire facial skin and muscles – including cheekbones,
nose, lips and teeth – of a donor.
The man is recovering well after
the 22-hour operation, said a spokesperson from Vall d’Hebron University
Another 10 face transplants have
been carried out around the world, but this is believed to be the most complex.
“There have been 10 operations
of this kind in the world – this is the first to transplant all of the face and
some bones of the face,” Hospital spokesperson Bianca Bont said.
He had been left unable to breathe,
swallow, or talk properly after an accident five years ago.
A team of 30 experts carried out
the operation on 20 March at the hospital in Barcelona.
The man has since seen himself in
the mirror and was calm and satisfied, the leader of the medical team, Joan
Pere Barret, told a news conference.
The first partial face transplant
was carried out by doctors in Amiens, France, in 2005.
Isabelle Dinoire, a 38-year-old
woman who had been mauled by her dog, received a new nose, chin and lips.
Since then partial face transplants
have been carried out in China and the US.
A spokesperson for the UK’s Facial
Transplantation Research Team, which has ethical permission to carry out a full
face transplant, said it was “a tremendous achievement”.
“It once again shows how
facial transplantation can help a small number of people who are the most
severely facially injured and for whom reconstructive surgery cannot and has