French surgeons give burn victim new face, hands

Mon Apr 6, 2009 4:34pm EDT
 
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PARIS (Reuters) - French surgeons have replaced parts of a burn victim's face and hands using donor tissue, in what their hospital said was the world's first combined operation of that kind.

The surgeons began with the hand transplant and then replaced the 30-year-old man's face from the lips up, giving him a new scalp, nose, ears, forehead and eyelids and reconnecting the nerves, tendons, arteries and veins.

An accident in 2004 had left the man with burns that "prevented him from any social life," the Henri Mondor hospital in Paris, where the operation was performed, said in a statement.

The operation took 30 hours and involved more than 40 people, the hospital said, adding that the transplant also showed the success of a campaign to encourage the donation of organs.

"The donor's family was informed of the transfer and accepted it with great generosity," it said.

The face transplant was the sixth in the world. French surgeons previously performed face transplants on a man disfigured by a rifle shot, a woman mauled by her dog, and a man who suffered from Recklinghausen disease which deforms the face.

Doctors in the United States and China have also performed face transplants.

(Reporting by Sophie Hardach, editing by Tim Pearce)

 
<p>French Professor Laurent Lantieri attends a press conference at the Henri Mondor Hospital in Creteil, near Paris, April 6, 2009 gives details about the first surgical graft of the eyelids, part of two simultaneous surgical grafts on the face and hands on a patient suffering from burns which was performed over the weekend. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer</p>