CLEVELAND, Ohio (WKBN) – Multiple specialists and 11 surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic have successfully performed the hospital’s first ever total face transplant.
The 31-hour surgery back in May resulted in the 100 percent transfer of a human face — the hospital’s third face transplant — that included the scalp, forehead, eye lids and sockets, nose, cheeks, jaw, teeth, nerves, muscles and skin.
The 21-year-old female patient is the youngest person in the U.S. to receive a face transplant. She suffered severe facial trauma from a previous gunshot wound.
Cleveland Clinic was the first of six U.S. institutions to perform a face transplant. Fewer than three dozen face transplants have been performed worldwide.
Transplant co-director Frank Papay, M.D., chairman of the Dermatology and Plastic Surgery Institute, said he is “extremely proud of this team for their commitment to making a difference in this patient’s life.”
The surgical team utilized 3-D printing and virtual reality to prepare for the operation.
The recipient said she is “forever grateful for the care this hospital has given me … To my donor and her family, words cannot express the appreciation I have for this incredible gift.” Donations were issued through Lifebanc.
Since the surgery, the patient is recovering well and continuing to be monitored for signs of tissue rejection.