Monday, July 12, 2010

First Full Face Transplant Done!

French surgeons at the the Creteil Henri-Mondor Hospital in the Paris suburbs performed the first successful full face transplant which included the lacrimal system (eyelids and tear ducts) last month on June 26.

The team was lead by head surgeon Laurent Lantieri who has already performed four other partial or nearly-complete face transplants including the one two years ago on Pascal Coler, 24, who needed a new face after suffering from Von Recklinghausen's disease — known as the "Elephant Man" condition.

This landmark surgery was done on a patient who is identified only as “Jerome,” a 35 year old man a face-disfiguring genetic disorder.  No sources report which genetic disease Jerome has, but it is most likely neurofibromatosis.

Jerome is reported to be doing well.  Lantieri is reported to have said, "My patient is doing well. He is walking, eating, talking. His beard has started to grow back on his new face."

A face transplant involves the removal of the entire face from a corpse, including mouth and eyelids, and grafting it onto the patient. Nerves and blood vessels are connected under a microscope.  Like other transplant procedures, the patient remains at risk of rejecting the transplanted tissue.

Neurofibromatosis is an autosomal dominant disease, which  means that an individual has reached a 50% risk of transmission to their children.  It affects the brain, spinal cord, nerves, skin, and other systems in the body.

There are two types of neurofibromatosis, NF1 and NF2. NF1 is more common, occurring in 1 of every 4,000 births and affecting an estimated 100,000 Americans.  It is also known as von Recklinghausen disease.

NF2 is characterized by the presence of bilateral acoustic neurofibroma-like tumors and is rarer, seen in 1 in 50,000 births. People with NF2 usually develop benign tumors on the nerves in their ears, causing hearing loss, eventual deafness, and problems with balance.

Neurofibromatosis is defined by tumors, called neurofibromas, that grow along nerves in the body, or on or under the skin.  Neurofibromas often first appear in childhood, especially during puberty. Many neurofibromas can be removed.  Although usually benign (noncancerous), an estimated 3%-5% become cancerous.

 

References

Daily Telegraph

eMedicine:  Neurofibromatosis

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

1 comment:

Jerry said...

Von Recklinghausen's disease/Neurofibromatosis Is NOT the same disorder that Joseph Carrey Merrick who was known as the "Elephant Man".
Joe suffered from a rarer disorder known as Proteus Syndrome.