Doctors Perform First Full Face Transplant in U.S.

A team of more than 30 doctors and other providers led by plastic surgeon Dr. Bohdan Pomahac at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston performed the first full face transplant in the U.S on a 25-year-old construction worker from Texas who was disfigured in a power line accident.

The man received a new nose, lips, skin, muscle and nerves from an unidentified donor. The U.S. military paid for the operation, and it plans to use knowledge gained from the procedure to help soldiers with severe facial wounds.

Dr. Pomahac said the man will not resemble “either what he used to be or the donor,” but something in between. “The tissues are really molded on a new person.”

The operation, which took 15 hours, was not able to restore the man’s sight, and some nerves were so badly damaged from his injury that he will probably have only partial sensation on his left cheek and left forehead, the surgeon said.

About a dozen face transplants have been done worldwide, in the U.S., France, Spain and China. This was the third in the U.S.; the first two performed in this country were partial transplants. Previously we posted about the country’s first ever 80 percent face transplant performed at the Cleveland Clinic.