Spain's 1st face transplant patient can smile now

August 23, 2009 By HAROLD HECKLE , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- Spain's first face transplant patient - the first anywhere to get a new tongue and jaw - has been so pleased by his new appearance that he smiled, hospital officials said Saturday.

The 43-year-old patient, who underwent the surgery Tuesday at La Fe hospital in the eastern city of Valencia, may go home in about a week, said transplant specialist surgeon Pedro Cavadas. The man lost part of his face more than 10 years ago due to radiotherapy to treat an aggressive tumor.

Cavadas said the patient will need to learn to eat and speak intelligibly again after more than a decade of not being able to, but he saw himself in a mirror and was so happy he smiled.

Hospital officials said Saturday that the patient, whose name has not been released, continued to make good progress.

The operation performed by Cavadas and a team of 30 - the eighth in the world - took 15 hours to transfer facial parts from a 35 year-old donor who had died in a traffic accident.

Cavadas said he had been forced to bring forward a press conference about the operation because press reports had revealed the identity of the donor.

"The intimacy of the has been violated, something as sacred as that. This benefits no one," Cavadas said.

There have been four previous face transplant operations in France, two in the United States and one in China.

In October doctor Cavadas operated to transplant two arms onto a 28 year-old Spaniard who had lost both limbs above the elbow.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Best of Last Year—The top Medical Xpress articles of 2017

December 20, 2017
It was a good year for medical research as a team at the German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, found that dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain. Any exercise helps, the team found, but dancing ...

Pickled in 'cognac', Chopin's heart gives up its secrets

November 26, 2017
The heart of Frederic Chopin, among the world's most cherished musical virtuosos, may finally have given up the cause of his untimely death.

Sugar industry withheld evidence of sucrose's health effects nearly 50 years ago

November 21, 2017
A U.S. sugar industry trade group appears to have pulled the plug on a study that was producing animal evidence linking sucrose to disease nearly 50 years ago, researchers argue in a paper publishing on November 21 in the ...

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.