(Cleveland) - Doctors at Cleveland Clinic have performed the hospital's third face transplant, the first total face transplant to be done at Cleveland Clinic.
The surgery was done on a 21-year-old woman in May. The surgery took 31 hours, and included transplantation of the scalp, the forehead, upper and lower eyelids, eye sockets, nose, upper cheeks, upper jaw and half of lower jaw, upper teeth, lower teeth, partial facial nerves, facial muscles, and skin, effectively replacing 100 percent of the patient’s facial tissue. The surgery was done by a team of 11 surgeons and specialists.
The woman, whose identity is not being revealed, said in a statement, “To reach this point of recovery has often times been a difficult road to travel, but I’m thankful there’s been a road - and Cleveland Clinic has been the vehicle to help drive me along.”
The woman suffered severe facial trauma and other complications from a gunshot wound as a teenager. She is the youngest person ever in the United States to receive a face transplant.
Cleveland Clinic agreed to give the woman a face transplant, saying the goal is to give her the capability to speak more clearly, and breathe, chew, and swallow more effectively. It's believed the surgery will also improve her physiological, psychological, and social functions.
Cleveland Clinic is one of six facilities in the U.S. that have done face transplants. Cleveland Clinic did their first face transplant in 2008.