Surgeons in the United States have performed the first reported full face transplant for a black patient.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts is reporting that a team of over 45 physicians, nurses, anaesthesiologists, and researchers performed the 16-hour surgery in July on a 68-year-man.
The patient, who is also the oldest individual to receive a full face transplant, had suffered burns over 60 per cent of his body and face after his car was struck by another vehicle in 2013. He remained in a coma for six months after the collision and was hospitalised for over a year.
During that time, he underwent more than 30 surgeries. However, his lips, part of his nose, and left ear were unable to be reconstructed. He was listed for a face transplant in March 2018. The hospital noted the wait for a donor was longer than that of previous Brigham face transplant recipients due to the effort to find a match that would work for the patient's skin tone.
The patient is now reported to be progressing and recovering “remarkably fast”.
While this is the first full face transplant for a black patient, a black patient in Paris received a partial face transplant in 2007.