Frenchman Undergoes Second Face Transplant
43-year-old Jérôme Hamon is the first person to ever undergo two facial transplants. In an interview held three months after undergoing the procedure, Hamon says that he feels well. The need for a second transplant arose after his body was beginning to reject the previous transplant due to undergoing antibiotics to treat the cold. While Hamon spent a faceless two months in a Parisian hospital until a suitable donor could be found, he leapt at the first person to offer in January of this year.
The impetus for Hamon's first transplant in 2010 was would be neurofibromatosis type 1, a hereditary condition that results in the development of large tumors across the face. When Hamon developed a cold five years later, the prescribed antibiotics negatively reacted with the immunosuppressant medications he had been taking for his transplant. While the initial evidence of rejection occurred in 2016, Hamon's face had become necrotic by November of last year and necessitated removal. After the removal, Hamon spent his days at Paris' Georges-Pompidou hospital without any ability to sense images or sounds nor the means to verbally communicate.
In an effort to avoid a second rejection, Hamon had his blood cleaned. The new face appears smooth and still, likely because his bones, flesh and facial features have yet to fully align with it. Hamon's attitude toward the recovery process was notably positive, commenting that because his donor was nearly half his age, he has a second youthful face.
The transplant procedure was overseen by Professor Laurent Lantieri. Beyond his expertise in transplanting hands and faces, Lantieri was the specialist who was called to perform Hamon's first transplant in 2010. Lantieri addressed reporters, stating that the success of Hamon's second transplant is proof that such a procedure goes beyond the bounds of theory and into practice.
Bernard Cholley, an anaesthetist, commented that it was previously unheard of for anyone to lose a face and be left waiting an incalculable duration of time for a donor. Cholley added that Hamon's courage and endurance in light of such a difficult situation was a remarkable thing to witness.
The very first transplant of a human face was also performed on a French citizen; Isabelle Denoire was the victim of a dog that mauled part of her face. The operation was performed in northern France in December 2005. To date, a total of 40 such operations have been performed.
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