Life-saving face transplant performed in Poland

Associated Press + More

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Doctors in Poland say they have performed an urgent total face transplant on a 33-year-old man whose face was torn off in an accident which also crushed his jaws.

Doctors at the Oncology Center in Gliwice said the 27-hour operation was performed 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. Previous transplants took months or years to prepare. The surgery reconstructed the face, jaws, palate and the bottom of the man's eye sockets.

A picture of the patient taken Tuesday, six days after the surgery, showed him making a thumbs-up gesture from his hospital bed.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.