A 30-year-old man from Indiana who lost much of his face after a terrible car accident received a full face transplant at Brigham and Women's Hospital last week.
Surgeons, who announced the surgery this morning, said the 30-person transplant team worked for more than 14 hours to replace the ''full facial area'' of Mitch Hunter, including his ''nose, eyelids, lips, muscles of facial animation and the nerves that power them and provide sensation.''
Hunter suffered a severe shock from a high voltage electrical wire following a car accident in 2001.
It is the third face transplant performed at the Brigham, and the fourth in the country. In the Brigham's previous two face transplants, the patients also suffered from high-voltage electrical burns.
Dallas Wiens, a 25-year-old from Texas who received the nation's first full face transplant at the Brigham last month, was painting a church when his cherry picker ran into an electrical line. Two years ago, James Maki, received a partial face transplant at the hospital, four years after falling onto an electrified third rail in a Boston subway.
Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, the lead surgeon, said in a statement about Hunter's surgery: "I am very grateful to the entire transplant team for working so well together, ensuring that Mitch's procedure went smoothly and putting him on course for a successful recovery and new life."
The hospital declined to release the exact date of the surgery.
The donor family, who want to remain anonymous, said in a statement released by the hospital, "We are very proud that our beloved son's wishes were to donate his organs and tissue, helping as many people as possible. We are honored to respect his wishes.
When we heard that there was a match for his facial tissue, we were overwhelmed and did not hesitate to say yes. We are so very happy that the transplant is progressing well. It is a gift to us to know that another young man's life could be so positively changed because of our son's giving spirit. Though we grieve our loss, we are also joyful that his passing has made this miracle possible.''
Consent for the donation of the tissue from the face was obtained by New England Organ Bank staff after conversations with the donor family.
Registering as an organ and tissue donor on a driver's license is not accepted as consent for face donation; family consent is required.
"Advancements in transplantation are only made possible by the generosity of organ and tissue donors and donor families. We thank this donor family for their spirit of giving during their time of grief," said Richard Luskin, president of the tissue bank.
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|White Coat Notes covers the latest from the health care industry, hospitals, doctors offices, labs, insurers, and the corridors of government. Chelsea Conaboy previously covered health care for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @cconaboy.|
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