‘Most Complex Face Transplant Ever’ Performed By Spanish Hospital

After a 27-hour surgery was performed at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, physicians claim that they have successfully performed the most complex face transplant ever attempted.

Medical staff at the Barcelona hospital apparently reconstructed the lower portion of a man’s face, who had been terribly afflicted for 20 years by an arteriovenous malformation.

According to a statement issued by Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, the face transplant operation was undertaken by a team of 45 specialists, including physicians, nurses, anesthesiologists and other medical professionals led by Dr. Joan-Pere Barret, head of Plastic Surgery and Burns at the hospital. They claim that this is the most complex transplant operation ever performed.

“This is the first time that a transplant of this complexity is performed in the world.”

According to Yahoo News, the patient had been suffering for 20 years with an abnormal connection between the arteries and veins, bypassing the capillary system. Apparently, this unusual condition causes intense pain, can also cause bleeding and often leads to serious complications.

The man, who preferred to remain anonymous, had mass deformation of his tissue from his condition, which also affected his speech and vision. The risk of bleeding also placed his life in danger according to the hospital’s statement.

“The patient, due to the evolution of his illness, had important functional alterations, such a vision and speech problems, and the risk of severe bleeding that put his life in danger.”

During the 27-hour-long face transplant operation, surgeons reconstructed the man’s lower face, mouth, tongue and pharynx as well as his neck.

The operation was apparently carried out in February, but the news has only now been released to the media. Apparently, the patient is already back at home and only goes to the hospital for checkups.

“The patient evolution after the surgery was successful, similar to any transplant patient at the hospital. Now he is already at home and only comes to the hospital to do routine checkups.”

Of interest to note is that prior to Vall d’Hebron taking the man’s case, he had consulted with several other hospitals in the United States including Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic, but both hospitals considered him to be inoperable.

The Barcelona hospital took the case as face transplant surgery was apparently the man’s only treatment option.

Face Transplant
Oscar, C, recipient of a previous face transplant operation at the Vall d'Hebron hospital

This is reportedly the second successful face transplant carried out at the hospital. In 2010, they performed the world’s first full face transplant on a man (pictured right), who had been left without a nose and with deformed cheekbones and jaw from a trauma. That patient is reportedly now living a normal life.

However, it was France that performed the first successful partial face transplant in 2005 on a woman who had been badly mauled by her dog.

In other exciting medical news, the Inquisitr reports that insulin producing cells, created in a laboratory, will soon eliminate daily injections for type 1 diabetics.

[Photo: Surgical Team, Courtesy Vall d’Hebron University Hospital]

[Photo: Face Transplant patient by Jasper Juinen / Getty Images]