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Plastic surgeons carry out second partial face transplant

health and fitness Updated: Apr 13, 2009 21:24 IST

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A plastic surgery team, led by Dr B Pomahac, carried out a partial face transplant at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston - the second such transplant to be performed in the US.

The seven plastic surgeons, as well as an ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgeon, along with nurses, anaesthesiologists 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.

The New England Organ Bank (NEOB), 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.

Kevin O'Connor, senior vice president, NEOB, 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 honour to work with such a remarkable donor family," he added.

The patient wishes to remain anonymous and therefore there will be no new conference or interviews.

Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) is a leading transplantation centre of excellence with a worldwide reputation, according to a BWH release.

In 1954, a kidney was successfully transplanted from one brother to another by Joseph Murray and his team at the BWH. Dr. Murray went on to receive the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1990.