First Full Face Transplant Reportedly Performed In Spain

Surgeons in Barcelona's Vall d'Hebron Hospital claim to have performed the world's first full face transplant.

The unnamed patient has received an entirely new face, including skin, muscle tissue, lips, nose, jaw, teeth, and cheek bones.

The patient's face was injured in an accident 5 years ago. Since that time he has not been able to swallow, speak, or breathe properly.

In a statement the hospital said, "He had been operated on nine times without satisfactory success, therefore he was considered for full face transplant."

"The operation was carried out by a multidisciplinary team led by Dr Joan Pere Barret, performing the transplant of the entire facial skin and muscles, nose, lips, maxilla, palate, all teeth, cheekbones, and the mandible by means of plastic surgery and micro-neurovascular reconstructive surgery techniques."

The patient had contacted surgeons after being inspired by the case of Isabelle Dinoire, the French woman who received the first partial face transplant in 2005. This case marks the first time a full-face transplant has been completed.

Professor Peter Butler, head of the UK's Facial Transplantation Research Team, praised the operation, and told the Daily Telegraph that people with severe facial injuries "are people who live a terrible twilight life, mostly shut away and hiding from public gaze."

"He saw himself in the mirror when he wanted to and when psychologists said that he was ready. It was a week after the operation and he reacted well, he was calm and satisfied," Dr Barret, leader of the medical team, told a news conference.