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Boston Hospital Performs 2nd US Face Transplant

Associated Press/AP Online

April 14, 2009

A Boston hospital has performed the nation’s second face transplant on a man who suffered traumatic facial injuries from a fall.

Hospital spokesman Kevin Myron said the 17-hour operation took place Thursday at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. A team led by plastic surgeon Dr. Bohdan Pomahac (Bow-DAWN POE-mahawk) replaced the man’s nose, palate, upper lip, and some skin, muscles and nerves with those of a dead donor.

The hospital would not identify the donor or the recipient, but plans a news conference Friday afternoon.

The first U.S. face transplant was done in December by doctors at Cleveland Clinic who replaced 80 percent of a woman’s face with that of a female cadaver. The woman’s identity has not been revealed, nor the circumstances that led to the transplant, except that her injury occurred several years ago.

The woman left the Cleveland hospital in February, and her progress was described as astonishing by her doctors.

The Boston surgery is the world’s seventh face transplant, as an operation once considered the stuff of science fiction is suddenly becoming more common.

Last weekend in Paris, doctors performed the world’s first simultaneous face-and-hand transplant on a man who suffered severe burns. In that case, doctors replaced the upper half of the man’s face and both his hands, all the parts coming from a brain-dead donor.

French doctors also did the very first transplant, successfully performed in 2005 on a French woman.

© YellowBrix 2009

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