face transplants, cosmetic surgery, plastic surgery,
Li Guoxing, A Chinese farmer who received a partial face transplant after he was badly
disfigured in a bear attack speaks at a press conference.

Prognosis Good for Partial and Complete Facial Transplant Patients

August 25, 2008 01:01 PM
by Emily Coakley
Once thought to be science fiction, partial and complete facial transplants have been successful in at least four cases.

‘So Transforming’

A new report in British medical journal The Lancet says complete facial transplants have been successful in two cases. In one case, a Chinese man was mauled by a bear, and in another, a French man was disfigured when doctors had to remove a tumor from his face.

The doctors who did each transplant have concluded “that facial transplants are reliable and those who undergo the procedure aren’t facing a high risk of complications after the surgery and treatment,” according to eFluxMedia, which reported on The Lancet's findings.

These surgeries come after doctors in France performed a partial facial transplant in 2005 for a woman whose nose, chin and lips were destroyed by a dog attack, according to the BBC.
She was able to feel heat and cold on her face within 10 weeks. Her smile was normal by 18 months, reported the doctors in a 2007 New England Journal of Medicine article. The woman reported that she was ready to go out into the world 12 weeks after her surgery.

“At present, the patient says she is not afraid of walking in the street or meeting people at a party, and she is very satisfied with the aesthetic and functional results,” the authors wrote.

A year and a half later, both men have accepted their faces and are back in their communities, according to study authors. 

In a Lancet podcast on the studies, Laurent Lantieri, one of the doctors who conducted the transplant in France, said of his patient: “He’s doing very, very well. He’s working, he can take the bus. Nobody’s looking at him. It’s not beautiful, but it’s so transforming.”

Background: First face re-plant

Related Topic: Plastic Surgery Web Guide


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