US face transplant patient leaves the hospital.
Wired PR News.com — The nation’s first face transplant patient has been released from the hospital, as reported by the Associated Press (AP). The woman, whose identity and location have not been released, underwent reconstructive surgery that took 22 hours. Although most of the details and cause of the woman’s injuries have not been revealed, it is known that during the surgical procedure, 80 percent oh her face had to be replaced including bones, muscles, skin, nerves, and blood vessels.
Dr. Maria Siemionow, a reconstructive surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio who performed the procedure, is quoted in the AP report as stating of the case, “The patient’s recovery has been astonishing. She shows no sign of rejecting her new face.” The woman is reportedly able to breath normally, eat chicken and pizza, wink, drink from a cup and smell, all things she has not been able to do in years. Siemionow is further quoted to comment that the surgery dramatically improved the woman’s quality of life and gives others, who have suffered trauma to the face, hope.
Although there have been three other partial face transplants performed in the world, none have been as extensive as this one. As noted by the AP, the clinic plans to perform more face transplants and have received a military grant to investigate the possibility of transplants for injured soldiers.