Doctors in Barcelona have claimed they have carried out the world’s first full face transplant.
The Vall d’Hebron hospital said a 24-hour operation was performed on a man who needed a new face after an accident which left him unable to speak, swallow or breathe properly.
The man, who has not been named, will remain in hospital for the next two months.
“The patient asked to see his face one week after the surgery. He reacted very calmly and was pleased with the result,” said head surgeon Joan Pere Barret.
A team of 30 surgeons worked on the operation at the end of March. The procedure gave the patient new skin, jaws, cheeks, teeth, facial muscles as well as a new nose.
“He does not look anything like the donor patient. That is important for people to know, that in terms of future face donations, there is no such danger,” Barret added.
There have been 10 partial or near-total face transplants carried out worldwide, but the Barcelona surgeons claim this is the first operation that involved an entirely new face.
The first successful face transplant was performed in France in 2005 on Isabelle Dinoire, a 38-year-old woman, after her pet dog chewed off her nose, chin and lips while she slept.