French man becomes first person to have two face transplants


Professor Laurent Lantieri, the surgeon who performed Mr Hamon's first transplant, led a pioneering team in this second procedure. The patient is reportedly doing well, and even spent a brief vacation in Brittany.

Hamon suffers from neurofibromatosis type 1, a genetic mutation which causes severely disfiguring tumours and related complications.

His first transplanted face was removed previous year after signs of rejection following a treatment with an incompatible antibiotic, and he remained in hospital for two months without a face while doctors frantically searched for a compatible donor.

Doctors removed Hamon's first transplanted face past year after it began to show signs that it was being rejected by his body, reports said, after a period of antibiotic treatment he was given to fight a cold.

Lantieri and his colleagues began Hamon's second face transplantation on a Tuesday afternoon in January, and the surgery ended in the early morning of the following day.

Jerome Hamon's new face is said to be "smooth and motionless" but his skull, skin and facial features have yet to be "fully aligned". Hamon also had limited hearing and writing, and could only turn his head very slightly.

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"If you have no skin, you have infections", Lantieri told the AP.

The seriousness of Hamon's rejection required a complete excision of his face in November.

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

French media reports have dubbed Hamon "the man with three faces".

"For a man who went through all this, which is like going through a nuclear war, he's doing fine", Professor Lantieri said.

The initial face transplant was from a 60-year-old, while this second one was from a 22-year-old.

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"I made up my mind very quickly", Hamon told Le Parisien. "So I've become 20 years younger", he said. Then, in October 2017, he was once again registered on the French Agency of Biomedicine's national waiting list for a new face. It's a question of identity ... He said the techniques being developed by Lantieri and others could help doctors achieve what he called "the holy grail" of transplant medicine: how to allow patients to tolerate tissue transplants from others.

Dr. Maria Siemionow, a professor of orthopedic surgery in the University of IL at Chicago College of Medicine, said Hamon's second transplant marks a significant moment in the medical field.

He added: "The first transplant I accepted immediately".

The first operation of Jerome was a success but his condition got complicated when he was given antibiotics for common cold that were incompatible with his immunosuppressive treatment.

"Can we redo a facial transplant? I thought, 'This is my new face, ' and this time, it's the same", he said. He said it's still unknown how long face transplants might last, but guessed they might be similar to kidneys, which generally last about 10 to 15 years.

And fortunately, after months of preparation and hours of surgery, the new face took.

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