French man receives face transplant

5th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 3, 2007 (AFP) - A French man with a disfiguring disease who received a lower face transplant celebrated seeing his new face for the first time by having a shave, a French newspaper said Saturday.

PARIS, Feb 3, 2007 (AFP) - A French man with a disfiguring disease who received a lower face transplant celebrated seeing his new face for the first time by having a shave, a French newspaper said Saturday.

"It was a very intense moment for the two (parties concerned)," Le Parisien said, referring to the moment on Friday when patient and professor Laurent Lantieri, the surgeon who carried out the 15-hour transplant, saw the results.    

The 27-year-old man, who had been under medical supervision since 1995 and had undergone around 10 operations, "hugged the surgeon and said he thought it looked good."  

Conducted last month it is only the third time in the world that a partial face transplant has been performed.

"In order to see the facial graft the beard had to be shaved off," said Le Parisien, adding that nurses had removed the facial hair prior to inspection. 

The beard -- which DNA tests revealed to be that of the donor -- is seen as a sign that the operation has so far been successful. 

"At this stage we do not know what is going to happen. We don't know if the beard will remain the same or if there will be a blending between the donor's and the patient's hair," Lantieri told the newspaper.  

"In any case it is his beard and his face now."  

Amid the celebrations Lantieri still had a word of caution, saying that there was still a long way to go in the recovery process.

"Despite the joy of all the team, we had to calm the patient down -- because the battle is not won yet."

Talking to AFP the surgeon, who works at Henri Mondor University Hospital Clinic in Creteil in the Paris suburbs, said it would be "three to four months before we can raise our hopes."  

"We have reconnected the nerves but a nerve only grows by one millimeter per day and there are around seven or eight centimeters between the underside of the eye and the corner of the mouth," he said.

The man, who suffers from neurofibromatosis, whereby the face is disfigured by grotesque lesions, will have to undergo months of testing and re-education before recovering full mobility of his new face.

"He is as well as possible and there are no signs of rejection. He is eating and he wants to talk," said Lantieri.

The world's first partial face transplant was conducted in Amiens, France, in November 2005, on a 38-year-old Frenchwoman, Isabelle Dinoire, who had been badly bitten by a dog.

In April 2006, Le Guoxing, a 30-year-old Chinese farmworker who had been attacked by a bear, was given a partial face transplant at the Xijing Hospital in Xian, China.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, Facial transplant

0 Comments To This Article