First double face transplant performed in France
French doctors continue to make unprecedented strides in the field of transplant surgery. On January 15th, 2018, at the Georges Pompidou European Hospital located in Paris, France, surgeons made history by performing the world’s first double face transplant.
The patient, a male in his 40s who has chosen to remain anonymous, rejected his first face transplant a few months prior to the second surgery in January. The original graft was removed in November 2017, and the patient was kept in a coma leading up to the second surgery. Despite the monumentary completion of the surgery, it remains to be determined whether the procedure will be ultimately successful in the long-term.
Historically, there have been fewer than 40 face transplant surgeries and the procedure is extremely high risk. French surgeons were the first to complete a partial face transplant surgery in 2005 on a woman named Isabelle Dinoire, who was mauled by a dog. The surgery was successful, however, Dinoire passed away from cancer several years later, which was believed to have been caused by the chemicals in the rejection medication.
Only patients who have suffered acute facial disfigurement that impedes their daily life are considered for the surgery. Additionally, all patients who go through with the procedure are dependent on immunosuppressive anti-rejection medication for the rest of their lives due to the risk for rejection and infection. Despite the risks involved, transplant surgeries can be life changing for the individuals and help ameliorate their quality of life. If successful, the recent double face transplant procedure can open opportunities for future patients who face persistently painful rejection from their face transplant surgeries. ◣