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Rapid response to:


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

Rapid Response:

Face - the Facts

We were disappointed that the content of this article contained a
significant number of errors and falls below the usual standard of the

Several times the authors talks about mandibles, when we are sure she
means jaws (humans have one mandible but two jaws) the worst example being
in the fifth paragraph 'mandibles of the jaw' which is just nonsense. In
another place the article says 'teeth and jaw' when it should be jaws.

The author says wrongly attributes the first face transplant to Jean-
Michel Dubernard (BMJ 2005;331:1359, doi:10.1136/bmj.331.7529.1359-c)who
was the head of the transplant unit. The surgeon was Professor Bernard
Devauchelle an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

The author states that the only parts of the face left were the
frontal bone and two eyeballs, but later says that when connecting nerves
that the 'intraorbital optic nerve and the dental nerve were hardest of
all'. I am sure that the nerves repaired where the infra-orbital nerve
(maxillary division of V) and the inferior dental nerve IDN (there are a
number of dental nerves but the IDN is a branch of the mandibular division
of V).

We have not transcribed all the errors in this article on this
response, but have done so in a communication with the editor. The author
has made a number of factual mistakes which would have been spotted by
anyone who knew a little about the face. Perhaps the board should have an
oral and maxillofacial surgeon involved when news articles comment on this
area to avoid a similar catalogue of errors.


Patrick Magennis and Anne Begley

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

07 May 2010
Patrick Magennis
Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
Anne Begley
Regional Maxillofacial Unit, University Hospitals Aintree NHS Foundation Trust, L9 7AL