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21-year-old woman, shot as teenager, gets first full face transplant from Cleveland Clinic

Posted July 19

— The Cleveland Clinic in May performed the first full face transplant on the youngest patient in the United States, making it the third face transplant at the clinic.

A team consisting of 11 surgeons and multiple specialists performed the transplant on a 21-year-old woman who suffered severe facial trauma from a gunshot wound when she was a teenager.

The 31-hour surgery on May 11 included transplantation of the scalp, the forehead, upper and lower eyelids, eye sockets, nose, upper cheeks, upper jaw and half of lower jaw, upper teeth, lower teeth, partial facial nerves, facial muscles and skin.

The patient will be able to eat, speak, chew and swallow more effectively. According to doctors, she is recovering well and getting accustomed to her new face.

For preoperative planning purposes, the team used 3-D printing and virtual reality to helps ensure accuracy, aesthetic and functional outcomes of the surgery.

The Cleveland Clinic became the first U.S. hospital to perform a face transplant in 2008.


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