Surgeons perform first full face transplant for black patient


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals. Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals.

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.