Medical Reading

Brigham And Women's Hospital Surgeons Perform Facial Transplant

October 23, 2017

A plastic surgery team at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, led by Dr. B Pomahac, has carried out a partial face transplant. This is the second partial face transplant to be performed in the United States.

The seven plastic surgeons, as well as an ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgeon, along with nurses, anesthesiologists and residents spent 17 non-stop hours replacing the mid-face area of a patient. The patient's hard palate, nose, facial skin, muscles for facial animation, upper lip, and nose were all replaced.

Kevin O'Connor, Senior Vice President, New England Organ Bank, said "Advances in transplantation only happen when there are individuals and families who can see past their own tragic circumstances and agree to donation. A gift such as this holds the promise of health and hope for a patient in need and it was New England Organ Bank's honor to work with such a remarkable donor family."

The patient wishes to remain anonymous. Therefore there will be no new conference or interviews with the patient present.

The New England Organ Bank, after talking with the donor family, obtained consent for the donation of the tissue graft from the face. For face donations family consent is required - being a registered organ and tissue donor, details of which can be included in a driving license, is not enough.

Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) is a leading transplantation center of excellence with a worldwide reputation. In 1954 a kidney was successfully transplanted form one brother to another by Dr. Joseph Murray and team at BHW. Dr. Murray went on to receive the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1990.

100 kidney transplants were performed, as well as 30 lung transplants at BWH in 2008. 560 heart transplants have been performed at BWH since 1984.

Source - Brigham and Women's Hospital.