Monday, 6 February 2012
Full Face Transplant
A flap of skin and muscle was transplanted from his back over the front of his skull to cover the devastation.
However just under a year ago, Dallas became the recipient of the USA's first donor face, thanks to Dr Pomahac and his team of 30 medical colleagues at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
It started one evening in March at 9 pm with Dr Pomahac and a colleague flying to another hospital in New England where a donor had become available. By midnight they were carefully removing the brain dead man's face. The face transplant would only remain viable for 4 hours after being severed from its blood supply. Meanwhile Dallas had started his journey from Texas to Boston and heading for the Brigham to be prepared for this new face.
Once the foundations of Dallas' facial area were ready, hours and hours of microsurgery got underway - connecting lips, nose to bone, nerve to nerve, skin to skin, etc etc. The team finished the surgery at 9 pm, twenty hours after Bohdan started removing the face of the dead donor.
Surgery DW from BWH Public Affairs on Vimeo.
Surgeon Bohdan Pomahac told us today: "We just had patient who came for evaluation and when I told him that surgically he would be a good candidate for transplantation, he burst into tears. He said, 'I have been living in seclusion for 25 years. For three years, I didn’t even walk out of my apartment....For all those years I’ve heard there’s nothing we can do.' Finally, there is emerging hope - there is something we can provide."