Monthly Archives: August 2013
Ugur Acar, 19, was Turkey’s first facial transplant. He is shown here seeing his face for the first time. sees his new face for the first time. As a baby he suffered serious burns to his face during a house fire when he was just 40 days old. He had a cosmetic procedure to repair his face in 2012 at Akdeniz University’s School of Medicine in southern Turkey. His face was freshly shaven before he looked into the mirror, as he had been forced to grow a beard over the three weeks since the operation to avoid irritating his skin. Doctors successfully transplanted tissue from the face of a 45-year-old donor to Ugur.
Pascal Coler, a modern-day Elephant Man, had his face horribly disfigured by Von Recklinghausen’s disease, a rare genetic disorder. In 2008, a team of French surgeons, headed by Professor Laurent Lantieri, gave him a new lease on life. The controversial operation, which involved replacing Mr. Coler’s face with that of a dead donor, took 16 hours. During the operation, tissues, nerves, arteries and veins were all attached to the patient’s face.
Mr. Coler described the day of his surgery as the happiest of his life.
Dallas Wiens (born May 6, 1985) is the first American to receive a full face transplant, performed at the Brigham Women’s Hospital during the week of March 14, 2011. It was the first such operation in the United States and the third in the world. Wiens of Fort Worth, Texas was severely disfigured in 2008 when he came in contact with an active high-voltage power line. He was standing inside the cherry picker when his forehead made contact with a high-voltage wire. Transported by helicopter to Parkland Memorial Hospital, surgeons spent 36 hours over two days working to save Wiens’ life.
Wiens was left permanently blind and without lips, a nose or eyebrows. Doctors told the family that Wiens likely would be paralyzed from the neck down and would never speak or produce enough saliva to eat solid food. They put him in a medically-induced coma for 3 months. After awakening, he made unprecedented progress and left the hospital in the spring of 2009. In May 2010 he started walking. In March 2011, a transplant team of more than 30 doctors, including eight surgeons and doctors and nurses from multiple disciplines led by Dr. Bohdan Pomahač, performed a full face transplant at Brigham Women’s Hospital in Boston. It took 15 hours. Wiens’ sight couldn’t be recovered but he has been able to talk on the phone and smell.