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.