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article imageWoman gets a near-total face transplant surgery in Cleveland

By Chris V. Thangham     Dec 17, 2008 in Health
A woman suffering from severe facial trauma underwent successful face transplant surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. The surgery took about 22 hours to perform.
The woman had endured severe facial trauma for a number of years. The woman only had her upper eyelids, forehead, lower lip and chin -- all other parts were damaged. She received a face transplant for about 80 per cent of her face and body parts were donated from the dead.
The woman’s name was not released to the public to keep her identity and her donor confidential.
This is the fourth facial transplant surgery in the world, but the first in the U.S.
Dr. Maria Siemionow, the lead surgeon, told AP the surgery took 22 hours but she and others were preparing for this type of surgery for more than 20 years.
Before the surgery, the woman didn’t have a nose and palate. She ate and breathed via a special opening in her windpipe.
Siemionow told AP:
"I must tell you how happy she was when with both her hands she could go over her face and feel that she has a nose, feel that she has a jaw."
Dr. Siemionow said the woman is doing well after surgery and it was successful.
She praised the woman for giving hope to thousands of others who hide in houses out of fear of being out in society. The patient was also bullied by others according to the doctor.
The patient’s family was grateful for this operation and posted this message on the hospital website:
"We never thought for a moment that our sister would ever have a chance at a normal life again, after the trauma she endured...But thanks to the wonderful person that donated her organs to help another living human being, she has another chance to live a normal life. Our family cannot thank you enough."
The patient will be taking a series of drugs to prevent complications after the operation.
The world’s first transplant was performed successfully in France in 2005. Isabella Dinoire, 38, received the surgery after her face was damaged by her dog. She received a new nose, chin and lips from a brain-dead donor. She is doing very well after the surgery.
Two others received a partial face transplant -- a Chinese farmer who was attacked by a bear, and a European man disfigured by a medical condition.
You can read more about this face transplant surgery at the Cleveland Clinic site.
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