A 21 years old woman recently became the youngest person in the United States to receive a full face transplant. A gunshot wound that led to severe trauma to her face is the reason behind this surgery. Doctors and specialists from the Cleveland Clinic achieved this feat, and the clinic just released details about the 31-hours long operation.
This is The First Full Face Transplant Conducted at the Cleveland Clinic
The surgery, which extended over 31 hours, was performed back in May by a team of 11 surgeons and multiple specialists from the Cleveland Clinic. It was the third face transplant carried out at the clinic and the first full one. According to the statement, there have been fewer than three dozen full total face transplants performed globally.
The patient is a 21 years old female, that was shot in the face as a teenager. She suffered severe trauma to the face, which led to other serious health problems. To protect their patient, her family, and the donor, the clinic will reportedly reveal no further information about either of them.
As part of the surgery, the woman received facial tissue from a donor, which enabled a 100 percent replacing of her face. This procedure also made the woman the youngest patient in the United States to receive a full face transplant.
Transplant for a Better Life
The surgery included a transplantation of the skin, facial muscles, partial facial nerves, nose, forehead, and scalp. It also included a changing of the upper and lower eyelids, eye sockets, the upper jaw and half of the lower one, the upper cheeks, upper and lower teeth.
“Knowing this patient now has the opportunity to live a functional life because of her face transplant is the greatest reward,” stated Dr. Brian Gastman, a plastic surgeon who took part in the procedure.
The surgery will allow its recipient to breathe better, speak more clearly, and also chew and swallow more efficiently. She will also be better at expressing her emotions on her face.
Dr. Gastman considers that the procedure will help the recipient better re-integrate into society. It will also help her have a future just like any other young person. For her part, the patient reportedly stated that although the recovery road had been difficult, she is “thankful that there’s been a road”.
The woman will still need physical therapy and intensive rehabilitation therapy. She will also follow speech and swallowing and occupational therapies. Also, the patient will have to take medication all her life. This will help prevent her body from rejecting the face transplant.
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