Patient Gets 'World's Most Complex' Face Transplant In 27-Hour Surgery

Doctors at a hospital in Spain claim to have made medical history by completely reconstructing the face of a disfigured man.

According to Daily Mail, a spokesperson for Barcelona's Vall d'Hebron hospital said a team of 45 surgeons, nurses and anesthesiologists drastically altered the 45-year-old patient's appearance last February.

It reportedly took the team 27 hours to replace his entire lower face and neck in what the hospital calls the "world's most complex" face transplant to date.

The patient underwent the extreme surgery after being a victim of what is known as arteriovenous malformation for 20 years.

Blood vessels in his brain had become intertwined, preventing blood from reaching brain tissue.

Other prestigious hospitals including Harvard Medical School had said no surgery could fix his deformities, which were severely impairing his vision and speech.

Such an operation could also have potentially caused enough bleeding to kill the patient.

But under the guidance of plastic surgeons and liver transplant specialists, the team at Vall d'Hebron was able to replace the skin and muscles in the man's face, nose, lips, jaw, palate and cheek bones in addition to all of his teeth.

The majority of his neck, tongue and the back of his throat were reconstructed as well.

And now, the hospital said this week, the patient is finally able to enjoy life with his new face.

According to a statement,

This is the first time that a transplant of this complexity has been performed in the world. The patient evolution after the surgery was successful, similar to any transplant patient at the hospital. Now he is already at home and only comes to the hospital for routine check-ups.

This is the same hospital that performed the first surgery that totally transplanted a man's face just five years ago.

That surgery was much less invasive, however, as the patient needed only a new nose, jaw and cheekbones.

Citations: Man undergoes worlds most complex face transplant surgery to have his neck mouth tongue and throat reconstructed (Daily Mail)