Surgeons at New York University’s Langone Medical Center are announcing the successful procedure of transplanting a human face onto an acceptable recipient.
Patrick Hardison, a volunteer firefighter who was severely burned in a fire in 2001, has had a surgery that has changed his life. Hardison was the recipient of a new face, due to a procedure that is being toted as the most expensive medical procedure of its kind to date. Hardison was severely burned in a fire, and as a result lost most of his nose, eyelids, facial hair, and ears. As a result, Hardison would wear a cap, sunglasses, and prosthetic ears to cover his injuries.
The face that was used was that of 26-year-old David Rodebaugh, after a bicycle accident had left him brain dead. The doctors attached Rodebaugh’s facial tissue to Hardison’s face, connecting some nerves and major veins while allowing other nerves to regenerate. Rodebaugh had already chosen to donate his organs, and Hardison is deeply grateful to Rodebaugh and his family for the life-altering procedure. There were over 100 doctors, nurses and other medical staff involved in the over 26-hour procedure.
“The fact that we were able to perform this and the patient was able to come out of the operating room safely is a very important, historic event,” Rodriguez said. “Now we have proven that the technology, the ability to transplant faces, has advanced.”
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