Spain’s first face transplant patient progressing well, says surgeon
MADRID: A 43-year-old man who underwent Spain’s first facial transplant was making good progress yesterday, the surgeon who perfor med the operation said.
“The patient is doing very well, but we have to be careful,” Pedro Cavadas said.
The man received a new face from a 35-year-old man who died in a traffic accident. The operation took place at the Hospital La Fe in the eastern city of Valencia and lasted 15 hours.
It was the eighth such operation to have been carried out worldwide, the Spanish Health Ministry said.
“His ordeal lasted for 11 years. His only hope was a facial transplant. Today he can swallow, speak clearly and recover the sense of taste,” Cavadas said.
“To put it simply, he has regained human dignity.”
The surgeon said the man “has looked at himself in the mirror and was delighted”.
The identity of the recipient was not officially disclosed, but a local newspaper said he was from Spain’s Canary Islands and had suffered a serious facial injury.
The first successful face transplant was performed in France in 2005 on Isabelle Dinoire, a 38-year-old woman who had been mauled by her dog.
Three others have since been carried out in France, two in the US and one in China. Two of the patients, one in France and the other in China, have died.
The operation was marred by the revelation of the donor’s identity by the local media, which the surgeon said was a violation of “a sacrosanct secret”. – Sapa-AFP