Meet the person with three faces

PARIS: is getting used to his new soubriquet “the man with three faces”. He is the first man to have two face transplants.

He remains in a Paris hospital, three months after undergoing his second face transplant, but has accepted his new “identity”. His new face remains smooth and motionless, with his skull, skin and features yet to be fully aligned, a gradual process reliant on which, hopefully, will prevent his body rejecting the transplanted material.

This unprecedented feat was carried out by the staff at the Georges-Pompidou European Hospital in Paris, and Laurent Lantieri, a professor of plastic surgery, who led the team. It was Lantieri who carried out the world‘s first full face transplant on Hamon in July 2010.

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

His first face transplant in 2010 was a success. But that same year – in order to treat nothing more than a common cold – he was given an antibiotic incompatible with his immunosuppressive treatment. In 2016 he began to display signs of transplant rejection, and his new face deteriorated. Then, last November, complications led Lantieri to remove his transplanted face. That left Hamon without a face, a condition that Lantieri described as “the walking dead.” Hamon had no eyelids, no ears, no skin and could not speak or eat. He had limited hearing and could express himself by turning his head slightly, in addition to writing a little. A face donor was found in January and the operation took place.

The operation answers a key question for Lantieri; and the medical world: “Can we redo a facial transplant? Yes, we can re-transplant and this is what you get!”

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