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A 25-year-old construction worker from Texas who was disfigured in a power line accident has received the first full face transplant in the U.S. A team of more than 30 doctors and other providers led by plastic surgeon Dr. Bohdan Pomahac at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston performed the transplant during a 15-hour surgery on the man.
The recipient received a new nose, lips, skin, muscle and nerves from an unidentified donor. The U.S. military paid for the operation, and it plans to use knowledge gained from the procedure to help soldiers with severe facial wounds.
The man will not resemble “either what he used to be or the donor,” but something in between, according to Dr. Pomahac. “The tissues are really molded on a new person.”
The operation was not able to restore the man’s sight, and some nerves were so badly damaged from his injury that he will probably have only partial sensation on his left cheek and left forehead, the surgeon said.
About a dozen face transplants have been done worldwide, in the U.S., France, Spain and China. This was the third in the U.S.; the first two were partial transplants.
While face transplants are rare, oral and maxillofacial surgery for less severe facial injuries, including facial lacerations, fractured facial bones and fractured jaws, are more common.
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