December 17, 2008

First Face Transplant Done in America

In Cleveland, reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow and a team of specialists performed the first face face transplant done in America by replacing 80 percent of a disfigured woman's face by using the face of a female cadaver. Many details of the surgery have not been released but surgeons that do this usually transplant skin, facial nerves, muscles, and other deep tissue.

Skin is considered an organ and it still runs the risk of the body rejecting it, as with other organ transplants. Recipients of transplants have the risk of deadly complications, such as the new facial tissue attacking the recipient's body and the recipient's body attacking the bone marrow or the transplanted face to cause inflammation at the area of the new tissue. They also have to take immune-suppressing drugs for the rest of their lives to prevent the body rejecting the organ. This raises the risk of cancer and other diseases.

This is the fourth one done worldwide. Two have been done in France and one was done in China. The first one was a partial face transplant done in France in 2005 on a woman who had been mauled by her dog and received a new nose, chin, and lips from a brain-dead donor. Another was done in France on man disfigured by a genetic disease. One was done in China on a farmer that had been disfigured by being mauled by a bear.

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