American transplantologists perform the world's first successful face and hand transplant
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American transplantologists perform the world's first successful face and hand transplant

4 February , 13:14In the worldPhoto: Mark Lennihan/AP
The man, who remained after a car accident with burns of 80% of his body, underwent a 23-hour operation with the participation of 140 doctors. Six months later, he is alive and well.

Doctors at the NYU Langone Health Medical Center reported that a face and two-arm transplant they performed was successful for the first time in history, writes Today.com.

In the summer of 2018, New Jersey worker Joe DiMeo was driving home from his night shift, fell asleep at the wheel, and had an accident. As a result of the explosion of the gas tank, DiMeo received a severe burn of the 3rd degree, more than 80% of the surface of his body was affected. The man spent more than four months in the burn department, of which two months in a medication coma.

The doctors had to carry out several operations: DiMeo's fingertips were amputated, lips and eyelids were removed, many scars remained on his face, and his eyesight fell. DiMeo underwent about two dozen reconstructive surgeries, and then he remained in the donor registry for almost a year, awaiting a face transplant. When the donor was finally found in August last year, DiMeo was in the operating room two days later.

Photo:NYU Langone

The operation involved a team of more than 140 medical workers: it was required to work very quickly to minimize the time during which donor tissue was left without blood supply. As a result of the operation, which lasted 23 hours, the patient was transplanted both arms to the middle of the forearm and face, including the forehead, eyebrows, ears, nose, eyelids, lips and skull line, cheeks, nasal and chin bones.

The main goal of the intervention was to restore DiMeo's ability to perform daily activities: eat and dress on his own, and the patient made every effort to make the rehabilitation successful. Using free weights, he does strength and resistance exercises, plays a lot with his dog and even tries out on the golf course.

In the past, doctors performed simultaneous face and arm transplants twice. One patient died as a result of complications associated with the infection. The other's body did not accept his hands, and they had to be removed. So far, DiMeo is doing well, there is no rejection.

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