Patrick before the surgery(left) and after (right)
US surgeons say they have carried out the world's most extensive face transplant to date, including the entire scalp, ears and eyelids on a fireghter, Patrick Hardison.
Patrick Hardison's face was badly burned in 2001 when the roof of a burning building he had entered to search for a 'missing' woman collapsed. The woman they had been looking for had actually been fishing nearby.
He waited more than a year on a donor register for a perfect match--26-year-old, David Rodebaugh, who was fatally injured in a cycling accident. The operation took place in August.
Three months on from the million dollar procedure, Mr Hardison, a father of five, is healing nicely, although he will need to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of his life to stop his body's immune system from fighting the transplant.
Dr Rodriguez estimates that no more than five of the other patients who have received facial transplants around the world died after the new tissue was rejected.
The procedure has restored Patrick's eyelids and blinking mechanism and he now has a full head of hair, as well as eyebrows, stubble and ears.
Mr Hardison will need more operations in a few months time to remove some of the loose skin around his eyes and lips. He says he is deeply grateful to his donor and the surgical team.
"They have given me more than a new face. They have given me a new life."
In 2005, a French woman called Isabelle Dinoire - who had sustained severe facial injuries after being mauled by a dog - made history by becoming the first patient in the world to have a partial face transplant.
Source-The Telegraph UK