CLEVELAND (AP) — A woman who had suffered severe facial trauma got essentially a whole new face in a first-of-its-kind operation at the Cleveland Clinic, hospital officials said Wednesday.
Only the woman's upper eyelids, forehead, lower lip and chin were left — the other 80 percent of her face was replaced with one donated from a cadaver.
The patient's name and age were not released. It was the nation's first face transplant and the fourth worldwide.
The transplant was done within the past two weeks.
"The surgery took 22 hours. The preparation to the surgery took over 20 years," said the lead surgeon, Dr. Maria Siemionow.
"This patient exhausted all conventional means of reconstruction, and is the right patient," she said at a news conference.
So many disfigured patients are stuck "in their houses who are hiding from society," afraid to go out, she said.
"Our patient was called names and was humiliated," she said. "You need a face to face the world."
The face was donated by a family that asked specifically to approve the gift and was not done under general organ donation consent rules, said officials of LifeBanc, the Northeast Ohio organ procurement group that arranged the transplant.
On the Net:
Cleveland Clinic: http://www.clevelandclinic.org/face
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