Polish doctors say they have performed a total face transplant on a 33-year-old man whose face was torn off in an accident with stone-cutting machinery.
Surgeons at the Oncology Center in Gliwice said the 27-hour operation was performed on May 15, just weeks after the accident.
The head of the team of doctors, Adam Maciejewski, said it was the world’s first life-saving face transplant carried out so soon after the damage.
The accident took place on April 23.
Previous transplants have taken months or years to prepare.
A computer-generated image, provided by the hospital, shows the extraordinary damage the man suffered as a result of the industrial accident.
It required surgery to reconstruct his face, jaws, palate and the bottom of his eye sockets.
But incredibly, the emergency procedure appears to have been a success.
A picture of the patient taken yesterday, six days after the surgery, showed him making a thumbs-up gesture from his hospital bed.
A Spanish farmer had the world’s first full-face transplant in March 2010.
Oscar, whose surname was not revealed to protect his privacy, had blown most of his face off with a gun in the hunting accident. He was left unable to breathe, swallow or talk properly.
Nine earlier surgical attempts to rebuild his face had failed.
He made medical history when he became the first person in the world to undergo a full facial transplant.
The 24-hour operation involved 30 surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses and other medical experts at the Vall d’Hebron hospital in Barcelona.
The complicated procedure included plastic surgery and microsurgery to repair blood vessels.
Oscar required speech therapy, physiotherapy and facial therapy to help him recover full movement in his facial muscles.
There have been 11 partial face transplants carried out since Isabelle Dinoire had her face repaired by French surgeons in 2005. Five have been performed in France, two in Spain and two in the U.S, one in Egypt and one in China.
There have also been two full face transplants, Oscar and a man known as Jerome in France.