There is more news on the first American to receive a near-total face transplant.
In a news conference Wednesday, surgeons described a procedure to give a new face to a woman who was horribly disfigured. The patient wants to keep her identity a secret. In an animation released Wednesday, doctors explained that the woman came to surgeons for help after suffering a blow that left one eye, her nose, and part of her jaw missing.
The transplant combined the efforts of doctors and nurses from 12 specialties at the Cleveland Clinic who replaced 80% of her face with tissue from a deceased donor. The lead surgeon, Maria Seimionow, M.D., said, "The surgery took 22 hours; the preparation to the surgery took over 20 years of work in the field of composite tissue transplantation". Dr. Eric Kodish, M.D., a member of the transplant team, adds, "We have hope that our patient will begin to smile again".
This face transplant is a first in the US, but three years ago, a French woman received a partial face transplant. French and Chinese doctors have had similar cases. The US patient still has not seen her new face yet, but doctors say she has felt it and is excited about the prospect of resuming a normal life.
If you are wondering whether the patient will look like the donor...the answer is no. Doctors say she will have her own new look because a face finds its real identity from bone structure and muscle, which of course are still her own.