Physicians at NYU Langone Medical Center have announced the successful completion of the most extensive face transplant to date, setting new standards of care in this emerging field.
Patrick Hardison – a volunteer firefighter who suffered a full face and scalp burn in the line of duty – became the first responder to have a face transplant performed.
Hardison’s face ‘melted’ off during a fire at a mobile home in Senatobia on September 5, 2001. In the painful years that followed, Hardison underwent 71 operations (at a rate of around seven a year) to try to rebuild his mouth, nose and eyelids using skin grafts.
This summer, doctors found a donor for a face transplant that matched Hardison’s skin tone: a 26-year-old man named David Rodebaugh who died in a cycling accident in August.
Hardison was given just a 50 percent chance of surviving the surgery but he was willing to take the risk. The surgery all went to plan and has left Hardison ‘feeling normal again’ and should restore his impaired sight, too.