Face Transplant

Although this sounds like the plot of Face/Off, the success of this operation is a medical breakthrough. The Vall D’Hebron hospital in Barcelona which conduction the surgery on “Oscar” had thirty experts working the 24-hour operation working to replace his lost jaw, nose and other features. Metal plates were used to support facial structure including the reconstructing of the roof of his mouth. While his facial features are constructed at healed, “Oscar” will continue to improve his speech through therapy. BBC reports:

The 31-year-old thanked his donor’s family and the medics that gave him a new face in March at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, Barcelona.

A shooting accident meant his entire facial skin and muscles – including nose and lips – needed replacing.

Doctors say he can expect to regain up to 90% of his facial functions. He had been left unable to breathe, swallow, or talk properly after an accident five years ago. Now the man, identified only as Oscar, still struggles to speak with clarity and will need months of physical therapy.

He told the news conference: “Friends, I want to thank the hospital coordinators, the entire medical team, the family of the donor and most of all my family who are supporting me these days.”

Oscar was considered for a full face transplant after nine previous operations failed.

A team of 30 experts carried out the 24-hour long operation on 20 March at the hospital in Barcelona. Led by Dr JP Barret, the team transplanted muscles, nose, lips, maxilla, palate, all teeth, cheekbones, and the mandible by means of plastic surgery and micro-neurovascular reconstructive surgery techniques.

It was the first full face transplant performed worldwide, as the 10 operations performed previously had been only partial. The first successful face transplant was performed in France in 2005 on Isabelle Dinoire, a 38-year-old woman who had been mauled by her dog.