Full face transplant man reveals his new look on TV

Oscar continues to need therapy for his speech

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A Spanish man who underwent the world's first full face transplant has revealed his new look before TV cameras.

The 31-year-old thanked his donor's family and the medics that gave him a new face in March at Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, Barcelona.

A shooting accident meant his entire facial skin and muscles - including nose and lips - needed replacing.

Doctors say he can expect to regain up to 90% of his facial functions.

Oscar Oscar before (left) and after (right) surgery

He had been left unable to breathe, swallow, or talk properly after an accident five years ago.

Now the man, identified only as Oscar, still struggles to speak with clarity and will need months of physical therapy.

He told the news conference: "Friends, I want to thank the hospital coordinators, the entire medical team, the family of the donor and most of all my family who are supporting me these days."

Start Quote

It seems only a matter of time before this innovative surgery is carried out in Britain.”

End Quote Fergus Walsh BBC News medical correspondent

Oscar was considered for a full face transplant after nine previous operations failed.

A team of 30 experts carried out the 24-hour long operation on 20 March at the hospital in Barcelona.

Led by Dr JP Barret, the team transplanted muscles, nose, lips, maxilla, palate, all teeth, cheekbones, and the mandible by means of plastic surgery and micro-neurovascular reconstructive surgery techniques.

It was the first full face transplant performed worldwide, as the 10 operations performed previously had been only partial.

The first successful face transplant was performed in France in 2005 on Isabelle Dinoire, a 38-year-old woman who had been mauled by her dog.

How surgeons rebuilt a patient's face
Full face transplant

Source: Vall D'Hebron Hospital, Barcelona

  1. Patient lost jaw, nose and other parts of his face in shooting accident.
  2. Donor's facial skin, muscles, nose, cheekbones, teeth and jawbone used to rebuild patient's face. Metal plates used to support new facial structure, which included reconstructing the roof of the mouth.
  3. Donor's nerves, blood vessels and skin connected to patient. Patient will have to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of his life.

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