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Spanish doctors carry out first transplantation of a full face

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 27 April 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2303
  1. Lynn Eaton
  1. 1London

    Surgeons at a Spanish hospital are claiming the first successful transplantation of a complete face after a 24 hour operation on a young man with severe facial injuries.

    The operation was carried out at the end of March at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, and the patient is “progressing favourably,” said the lead surgeon, Joan Pere Barret.

    “He is growing a beard at the moment,” said Dr Barret, who said he was “amazed” at the results. “We knew it was going to be good, but we didn’t know it would be that good,” he said.

    Now Dr Barret, who has specialised in treating burns victims in the past and who has worked at the St Andrews Centre for Plastic Surgery and Burns in Chelmsford, Essex, believes that where someone has severe facial injuries it may better to perform a full face transplantation than to try to patch them up with skin grafts.

    The patient had lost the centre of his face—his nose, his mouth, the mandibles of the jaw, both cheekbones, his eyelids, and part of his soft tissue—in a “severe, high …

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