New York doctors announce world's first successful hand and face transplant
Doctors at NYU Langone Health in New York have announced that they have successfully transplanted both hands and a face into a patient simultaneously. Previously, experts have twice tried to conduct such operations (in 2009 and 2011). Both times have proved unsuccessful.
This time, the 22-year-old New Jersey resident underwent an arm and face transplant. In 2 018, the patient crashed into a road guardrail, flipped over and caught fire. A random driver who saw the accident pulled him out of the car. The victim suffered burns to about 80% of his skin surface.
The victim was admitted to the burn unit of a hospital in New Jersey. There he spent more than two months in a medical coma. The young man's eyelids, lips, ears and fingertips were burned. The victim had undergone more than 20 operations in total, but because of his injuries he was still unable to look after himself. Two years ago they started to prepare him for a transplant.
The transplant operation lasted 23 hours, involving about 80 people including 16 surgeons. Both of his arms were amputated mid-forearm, and his own and the donor's tendons, nerves and blood vessels were joined together with thin sutures. He also underwent a full face transplant.
The transplant was performed back in August 2020, but doctors wanted to make sure the grafts would take root before declaring success.
"Joe is healthy, young, strong, likes to exercise, and eats healthy food. And he has one special quality he needs for this operation a strong motivation. He has a great sense of hope", said the head of the medical transplant team.
The doctor specified that more than a hundred hand transplants and about 50 face transplants have already been successfully carried out around the world by this point.