Frenchman becomes first person in world to get 'third face' transplant

by Noah Mcgee April 19, 2018, 1:46
Frenchman becomes first person in world to get 'third face' transplant

A French patient nicknamed "the man with three faces" says he has come to accept his new identity three months after becoming the recipient of the world's first double face transplant.

Hamon stayed at the Georges-Pompidou hospital without a face, unable to see, hear or speak until the second transplant took place.

Hamon suffers from a rare condition that leaves him with disfiguring tumors.

French media reports have dubbed Hamon "the man with three faces". But that same year - in order to treat a common cold - he was given an antibiotic incompatible with his immunosuppressive treatment.

But after getting ill in 2015, Mr Hamon was given drugs that interfered with the anti-rejection medicines he was taking for his face transplant.

Months passed by and Jerome was without face and hope.

In 2010, while in his 30s, Hamon received his second face in a surgery performed by Dr. Laurent Lantieri at Georges Pompidou hospital.

Lantieri described the condition as "the walking dead". The man had no eyelids, no skin, no ears, he could not eat or speak, had limited hearing and could only communicate by turning his head and a little bit of writing.

"If you have no skin, you have infections", Professor Lantieri said.

However, the second face surgery needed Hamon's approval.

In January, news of a 22-year-old donor reached the hospital, setting up the possibility of a second transplant for Hamon.

"I feel very well in myself", Hamon told reporters, according to The Guardian.

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The initial face transplant was from a 60-year-old, while this second one was from a 22-year-old. Logistics and medical arrangements were swiftly launched and the surgeon was required to remove the face of the donor and carry it back to France by dawn.

Like Hamon, a major problem with transplants is the threat of the body rejecting the new organ.

Lantieri said that the operation had also advanced medical science.

He said that now we realized that a twofold transplant is attainable. "Yes, we can retransplant and this is what you get", he told the AFP news agency.

Bernard Cholley, an anaesthetist at the hospital said: "We were blown away by Jerome's courage, his will, his strength of character in a tragic situation".

"While he was waiting he never complained, he was even in a good mood", he revealed. His new face remains smooth and motionless, and his skull, skin and features are yet to be fully aligned. "I understood I didn't have any choice otherwise it would have ended in tragedy", he said.

He was given blood treatment for almost three months before a 22-year-old donor came forward for a second transplant.

Mr Hamon was over the moon with the operation's success.

The operation was said to be the first ever full facial transplant. I thought "this is my new face" and this time it's the same.

He received his newest face three months ago. It's a question of identity ...

He added: "But here we are, it's good, it's me".

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