US firefighter gets world’s most extensive face transplant

This November 12, 2015 photo from video provided by the NYU Langone Medical Center shows face transplant patient Patrick Hardison during his recovery at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. A New York medical center said November 16, 2015 it had performed the most complex and comprehensive face transplant to date, performed on a 41-year-old first responder horribly disfigured in 2001. More than 100 doctors, nurses, technical and support staff took part in the 26-hour operation, conducted in mid-August at the NYU Langone Medical Center, the center announced. The recipient was Patrick Hardison, from Senatobia, Mississippi who suffered extensive facial burns as a volunteer firefighter, just days before the September 11, 2001 attacks. Hardison was severely disfigured when the roof of a burning home collapsed on top of him during a rescue search, losing his eyelids, ears, lips, most of his nose, hair and eyebrows. Eduardo Rodriquez, chair of the Hansjorg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery, led the surgery following a year of preparation, the medical center announced. AFP PHOTO / HANDOUT / NYU LANGONE MEDICAL CENTER == NO SALES== == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE / MANDATORY CREDIT: "AFP PHOTO / HANDOUT / NYU LANGONE MEDICAL CENTER "/ NO MARKETING / NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS / DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS ==-/AFP/Getty Images

A US firefighter injured in a house fire has undergone the world’s most extensive face transplant to date, which gave him an entirely new scalp, ears and eyelids.

The surgery lasted for 26 hours, and was carried out by plastic surgeon Dr Eduardo Rodriquez. The firefighter 41-year-old Patrick Hardison was injured in a house fire, while he attempted to rescue a woman trapped in the fire. He suffered third degree burns on his entire face and scalp.

Hardison had to wait for a complete year to find a donor with a perfect match. The donor was a 26-year-old man, David Rodebaugh, who was fatally injured in a cycling accident. The operation carried out at the NYU Langone Medical Center.

The operation was carried out three months ago, and cost a million dollars. Hardison is recovering speedily. He has to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of his life to stop his body’s immune system from fighting the transplant. He will also have to undergo more operations over time to remove some of the loose skin around his eyes and lips.

Such kind of surgeries are rare, and according to Dr Rodriguez’s estimates no more than five of the other patients with facial transplants all over the world didn’t survive after their bodies rejected the new tissue.

firefighter with doc AFP

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