Spain's first face transplant patient doing 'very well'

24th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

Spain's first face transplant patient is delighted with what he sees in the mirror.

Madrid – A 43-year-old man who underwent Spain's first facial transplant was making very good progress Friday, the surgeon who conducted the operation said.

"The patient is doing very well. But we have to be careful," Pedro Cavadas said."

The man received a new face from a 35-year-old man who died in a traffic accident in Wednesday's operation at the Hospital La Fe in the eastern city of Valencia which lasted 15 and a half hours.

It was the eighth such operation to have been carried out worldwide, the Spanish health ministry said.

"His ordeal lasted for 11 years. His only hope was a facial transplant... Today he can swallow, speak clearly and recover the sense of taste," Cavadas said. "To put it simply, he has regained human dignity."

The surgeon said the man "has looked at himself in the mirror and was delighted".

"We have to rework the muscles needed for chewing, the tongue muscles and redo some of the teeth to prevent him from biting his tongue," he added.

The identity of the recipient was not officially disclosed but local newspaper Levante-EMV said he was from Spain's Canary Islands and had suffered a serious facial injury.

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.

Three others have since been carried out in France, two in the United States and one in China. Two of the patients, one in France and the other in China, have died.

The operation was marred by the revelation of the donor's identity by the local media, which the surgeon said was the violation of "a sacrosanct secret", adding that his family is planning to launch legal action.

AFP / Expatica

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