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Cleveland Clinic To Keep Face Transplant Patient ID Private

Armen Hareyan's picture

Tomorrow the Cleveland Clinic will announce the details of the first total face transplant procedure conducted in USA. It was successfully completed today, but the clinic will keep the identity of the face transplant patient anonymous to respect patient and family privacy.

The team of physicians who performed this novel procedure will provide details Wednesday, December 17, 2008, 1 p.m. (EST). The face transplant information conference will take place in InterContinental Hotel & Conference Center at Cleveland Clinic at 9801 Carnegie Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44195 USA. For the protection of patient privacy, the patient and family wish to remain anonymous; they will not attend the news conference and will not be available for interviews.

The representative of the Cleveland Clinic media relations told us on the phone that about 80 percent of the patients face has been transplanted during the surgery. This is why it's called Total Face Transplant.

We only know that the patient had a trauma and it took a team of eight face transplant surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic to replace the eighty percent of the patient's face. There will be a Ceveland Clinic team of highly specialized surgeons tomorrow at the conference center who will share details of surgery and be available for questions.

Full face transplant surgeries have been making headlines in the recent years. In 2006 a face transplantation team in UK has been given permission to perform a series of full face transplant operations at the Royal Free Hospital in North London.

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The research ethics committee of the Royal Free delivered its decision to team leader, plastic and reconstruction surgeon, Mr Peter Butler, who said he was delighted with the news.

According to Wikipedia article a face transplant is a still-experimental procedure to replace all or part of a person's face.

"The world's first full-face replant operation was on nine year-old Sandeep Kaur, whose face was ripped off when her hair was caught in a thresher. Sandeep's mother witnessed the accident. Sandeep arrived at the hospital unconscious with her face in two pieces in a plastic bag.

"An article in the The Guardian recounts: "In 1994, a nine-year-old child in northern India lost her face and scalp in a threshing machine accident. Her parents raced to the hospital with her face in a plastic bag and a surgeon managed to reconnect the arteries and replant the skin." The operation was successful, although the child was left with some muscle damage as well as scarring around the perimeter where the facial skin was sutured back on. Sandeep's doctor was Abraham Thomas, one of India's top microsurgeons. In 2004, Sandeep was training to be a nurse.

"In 2004, the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA, became the first institution to approve this surgery and test it on cadavers. In 2008 a group at the Cleveland Clinic, led by Dr. Maria Siemionow, performed the first face transplant in the US."

Cleveland Clinic, located in Cleveland, Ohio, is a not-for-profit multi-specialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. U.S.News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey.

Approximately 1,800 full-time salaried physicians and researchers at Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland Clinic Florida represent more than 100 medical specialties and subspecialties. In 2007, there were 3.5 million outpatient visits to Cleveland Clinic and 50,455 hospital admissions.