The following article is an abbreviated version of a news item, originally written by fellow Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Ramona Bates. By the way, if you haven’t yet seen Dr. Bates’ blog, “Suture for a Living”, do check it out (link). It’s very well written, and shows off both her medical writing and her hobby, making quilts.
French surgeon Laurent Lantieri and his team have performed the first successful full-face transplant, which included the eyelids and tear ducts along with the rest of the face.
The surgery took place on June 26, at the Creteil Henri-Mondor Hospital in Paris. The patient, who is identified only as “Jerome”, is a 35 year old man with a face-disfiguring genetic disorder. No sources report which genetic disease Jerome has, but it is most likely neurofibromatosis.
Jerome is reported to be doing well. Lantieri is reported to have said, “My patient is doing well. He is walking, eating, talking. His beard has started to grow back on his new face.”
A face transplant involves the removal of the entire face from a recently-deceased donor, including mouth and eyelids, and grafting it surgically onto the patient. Nerves and blood vessels are re-connected under a microscope. Like other transplant procedures, the patient remains at risk of rejecting the transplanted tissue, and must remain on immuno-suppressive medications for the rest of their life.
Dr. Lantieri has previously performed four other partial or nearly-complete face transplants.