Surgeons in Cleveland perform first U.S. face transplant

No, Nicolas Cage and John Travolta were not involved.
A team of eight surgeons led by Maria Siemionow and operating at the Cleveland Clinic replaced 80 percent of a woman’s face using tissue from a deceased donor. This is the fourth operation of its kind worldwide; two have taken place in France and one in China.

The first patient to receive a face transplant was Isabelle Dinoire, who underwent the surgery in 2005 when she was 38, after she had been mauled by her Labrador retriever – French surgeons grafted onto her face a nose, lips and chin from a donor who had been declared brain-dead.
In 2006, a 30-year-old Chinese farmer underwent a facial transplant including the connection of arteries and veins, and repair of the nose, lip and sinuses after he had been mauled by a bear and in 2007 a 29-year-old man French man underwent surgery following a facial tumour called a neurofibroma so massive that the man was unable to eat or speak properly.
The successful U.S. procedure took place recently on a patient who had been disfigured by a traumatic injury but no further information about the patient has been released.

What I find hardest to believe about all of this is that anyone was mauled by a Labrador retriever. It takes a lot more work to turn a Lab into a violent animal than it does to become a top-notch reconstructive surgeon. Regardless, I would very much enjoy seeing a film of this surgery, although I doubt it will be released anytime soon.

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  1. #1 by Phillip IV on December 17, 2008 - 11:58 am

    If I remember the French case correctly, she wasn’t attacked by her dog – she was unconscious on the floor, and the dog accidentally mauled her trying to wake her up.

  2. #2 by Joshua Zelinsky on December 17, 2008 - 10:44 pm

    Phillip, that’s correct. In fact according some reports she had tried to commit suicide. She either took pills to kill herself or took too many pills, passed out, and hit her head.
    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabelle_Dinoire

  3. #3 by Kevin Beck on December 17, 2008 - 11:03 pm

    I deeply appreciate all of you insightful and intrepid bastards who stain this funkhole with comments. Someone always has the answer to every lingering question or sketchy proposition.

  4. #4 by C.vM on December 18, 2008 - 4:03 pm

    Regarding Labradors and bites, in most countries Labradors are around #2 for bites. They’re sweet animals most of the time, but so are pit bulls. (Incidentally, my niece has a permanent scar on her lip from a Labrador. I still love them, though)
    Here are some numbers to back up my spurious claim. My apologies for not being more thorough in my search, but I’ve got some deadlines to hit. http://www.safety-council.org/news/sc/1999/dogbites.htm

  5. #5 by saint_gasoline on December 18, 2008 - 11:33 pm

    I heard about this on NPR, and they were going over possible ethical quandries about this, saying people may object to having their faces transplanted as opposed to their livers or hearts.
    I don’t really get it. It’s not like I need a face where I’m going. But I’m hideous enough not to wish my mug on anyone. You’re probably better off with the bear/labrador mauled face.

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