French Doctors Perform 1st Full Face Transplant with Tear Ducts and Eyelids

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French surgeon Laurent Lantieri and his team have performed the first successful full-face transplant which included the eyelids and tear ducts along with the rest of the face.

The surgery took place on June 26 at the Creteil Henri-Mondor Hospital in the Paris suburbs. The patient who is identified only as “Jerome” is a 35 year old man a face-disfiguring genetic disorder. No sources report which genetic disease Jerome has, but it is most likely neurofibromatosis.

Jerome is reported to be doing well. Lantieri is reported to have said, "My patient is doing well. He is walking, eating, talking. His beard has started to grow back on his new face."

A face transplant involves the removal of the entire face from a corpse, including mouth and eyelids, and grafting it onto the patient. Nerves and blood vessels are connected under a microscope. Like other transplant procedures, the patient remains at risk of rejecting the transplanted tissue.

Lantieri, who has already performed four other partial or nearly-complete face transplants including the one two years ago on Pascal Coler, 24, who needed a new face after suffering from Von Recklinghausen's disease - known as the "Elephant Man" condition.

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Neurofibromatosis is an autosomal dominant disease, which means that an individual has reached a 50% risk of transmission to their children. It affects the brain, spinal cord, nerves, skin, and other systems in the body.

Neurofibromatosis is defined by tumors, called neurofibromas, that grow along nerves in the body, or on or under the skin.

Neurofibromas often first appear in childhood, especially during puberty. Many neurofibromas can be removed. Although usually benign (noncancerous), an estimated 3%-5% become cancerous.

There are two types of neurofibromatosis, NF1 and NF2. NF1 is more common, occurring in 1 of every 4,000 births and affecting an estimated 100,000 Americans. It is also known as von Recklinghausen disease.

NF2 is characterized by the presence of bilateral acoustic neurofibroma-like tumors and is rarer, seen in 1 in 50,000 births. People with NF2 usually develop benign tumors on the nerves in their ears, causing hearing loss, eventual deafness, and problems with balance.

References
Daily Telegraph
eMedicine: Neurofibromatosis
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

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