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The World's First Full Face Transplant

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the mpaa-sues-for-copyright-infringement dept.

Medicine 193

Dave Knott writes "A thirty-member Spanish medical team has achieved the world's first full face transplant. There have been ten previous similar operations, but this is claimed to be the first total transplant, replacing all of the face including some bones. The unnamed recipient originally injured himself in a shooting accident, and received the entire facial skin and muscles — including cheekbones, nose, lips and teeth — of a donor. The complex operation involved extraction of the donor's face, followed by removal of the jaw, nose, cheeks and parts of the eye cavities. Then the medical team took all of the donor face's soft tissue, including musculature, veins and nerves. In order to transplant the face, the medical team has to connect four jugular veins, extract bones and join all the musculature and blood vessels. The recipient has had a chance to see himself in the mirror, and is reportedly satisfied with the results. It is unknown whether he now looks more like John Travolta or Nicolas Cage." The pictures and videos in the linked articles are all computer-generated at this point, so the squeamish need not worry.

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193 comments

How many spaniards does it take to change a face? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31958752)

30

The Results? (2, Interesting)

hags2k (1152851) | about 4 years ago | (#31958780)

I would be interested to see before/after pictures of the recipient.

Re:The Results? (4, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 4 years ago | (#31958806)

And the before picture of the donor (I don't think I want to see the after picture there).

Re:The Results? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31958888)

I don't think I want to see the after picture there

probably looks about as good as the before picture of the recipient since he had his face blown off in a shooting accident.

Re:The Results? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31959526)

and before and after pictures of their penises....for....research....

Here you go (2, Funny)

spun (1352) | about 4 years ago | (#31958908)

I think this [imdb.com] is what you're looking for.

Re:Here you go (1)

miggyb (1537903) | about 4 years ago | (#31960004)

I thought you'd be linking to "Habla Con Ella". It's a Spanish film about this sort of thing. It actually is the inspiration for the American remake, Vanilla Sky. Both really good movies, I'd recommend them both.

Awesome! (0, Troll)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | about 4 years ago | (#31958790)

"It once again shows how facial transplantation can help a small number of people who are the most severely facially injured and for whom reconstructive surgery cannot and has not worked."

But it's not just for the unfortunate folks who have been horribly disfigured, it can be used for the bag over the head girls - you know, the ones with the awesome bodies but ugly faces.

So, save up, get the hot bodied chick a new face and no more paper bags. It will also save the environment because of less paper being used!

Then again, the new hot chick may figure out that she can move on to a hot rich guy and be done with you - so there are risks!

Re:Awesome! (1)

Asclepius99 (1527727) | about 4 years ago | (#31959424)

Then again, the new hot chick may figure out that she can move on to a hot rich guy and be done with you - so there are risks!

While I do applaud the planning you've put into this (I am always in favor of both helping the environment and making the women around me more attractive), I think the risk you mentioned is a bit unfounded. I mean if you can afford to get your butter face girlfriend/wife a new face, chances are you can afford to keep her around afterwards.

And is reportedly satisfied with the results (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31958796)

And what if he isn't?

Do they have a faceback guarantee?

A stock face to fall back on?

The donor? (5, Funny)

urusan (1755332) | about 4 years ago | (#31958808)

Where did they get a spare face? Faces are rather hard to come by.

Re:The donor? (1)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | about 4 years ago | (#31958886)

A donor, it said. Pay attention. Where do you think they get organs and shit for transplants? Dead people with donor cards.

Re:The donor? (5, Funny)

spun (1352) | about 4 years ago | (#31958926)

A donor, it said. Pay attention. Where do you think they get organs and shit for transplants? Dead people with donor cards.

Uh, who could possibly need a shit transplant?

Re:The donor? (5, Informative)

Pointy McButterpants (1183327) | about 4 years ago | (#31959048)

Uh, who could possibly need a shit transplant?

Actually.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fecal_bacteriotherapy [wikipedia.org]

Re:The donor? (5, Funny)

spun (1352) | about 4 years ago | (#31959208)

Whoa. I learn something new and disgusting every day. Thanks Internet!

Re:The donor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31959768)

I had one, last year. You can't believe how much it helped. I'm like new now!

Re:The donor? (1)

pavon (30274) | about 4 years ago | (#31959088)

Not all junior politicians can keep up with the vast volume of shit generated by seasoned veterans. It is sad reality that many ambitious young people now turn to supplements to keep up in this highly competitive field.

Re:The donor? (2, Funny)

spun (1352) | about 4 years ago | (#31959282)

Okay, now this is more along the lines of what I was trying to set up. See, I provide the funny lead in, someone else makes the punch line. But a big 'thanks!' to all those corny, nutty folks who felt compelled to let us all know that, yes, there really is such a thing as a shit transplant. I'm sure we all feel relieved knowing that, as if a big load has dropped off our, uh, shoulders. Lets all try to do our duty and keep each other informed. But this thing is getting pretty long now, and I feel pooped.

Re:The donor? (1)

pete-classic (75983) | about 4 years ago | (#31959092)

Fecal transplants are illegal in the US, but in certain rare circumstances (such as an otherwise untreatable C. diff infection) they can be life saving.

-Peter

Re:The donor? (1)

BigDukeSix (832501) | about 4 years ago | (#31959110)

Modern medicine has no sense of humor. There is a form of colitis caused by Clostridium difficile which results from destruction of the normal colonic flora by antibiotic use. It frequently recurs and can be lethal. There is currently on ongoing clinical trial evaluating the use of stool transplantation to prevent recurrence of this infection.

Re:The donor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31959140)

A donor, it said. Pay attention. Where do you think they get organs and shit for transplants? Dead people with donor cards.

Uh, who could possibly need a shit transplant?

Just google: "fecal bacteriotherapy" it exists...it's real.

Re:The donor? (2, Funny)

jdoverholt (1229898) | about 4 years ago | (#31959326)

I'm only slightly surprised that such a transplant exists, but why are so many Slashdotters so familiar with it?

Re:The donor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31959340)

A donor, it said. Pay attention. Where do you think they get organs and shit for transplants? Dead people with donor cards.

Uh, who could possibly need a shit transplant?

Some of my coworkers can't seem to give a shit. Perhaps they require transplants.

Re:The donor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31959914)

That would give a whole new meaning to "taking a shit"

Re:The donor? (1)

hoggoth (414195) | about 4 years ago | (#31959190)

Yeah that's it... donors...

"Doctor you did an amazing job, but why do I look like Chinese, and what is this number tattooed on the back of my new neck?"

I saw that movie (5, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 4 years ago | (#31959028)

Whats it called again? The one with Nicholas Cage and John Travolta... Where they like, take the guys face off, and then his face is off, so then they take the other guys face off, and put it on the other guys face. And then the guy without a face is really put off by it, so he gets the doctor to take the first offed face and put it back on him. So their faces are swapped. And then they have an epic face off with a climactic finish.

God I wish I could just remember the name of that movie...

Re:I saw that movie (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31959146)

Oh, I know what it was called! Total Recall!

Re:I saw that movie (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31959150)

I think it was called "The Face That Couldn't Stay On."

Re:I saw that movie (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 4 years ago | (#31959196)

Whats it called again? The one with Nicholas Cage and John Travolta... Where they like, take the guys face off, and then his face is off, so then they take the other guys face off, and put it on the other guys face. And then the guy without a face is really put off by it, so he gets the doctor to take the first offed face and put it back on him. So their faces are swapped. And then they have an epic face off with a climactic finish.

God I wish I could just remember the name of that movie...

Battlefield Earth.

Re:I saw that movie (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31959256)

The one with Nicholas Cage and John Travolta...with a climactic finish.

They were young and needed the money.

Re:I saw that movie (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31959292)

You mentioned it 3 and a half times. it is Face Off. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119094/

Re:The donor? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 4 years ago | (#31959302)

Where did they get a spare face? Faces are rather hard to come by.

From Facebook. All users are donors. Read the fine print in their terms of use.

The bit about "Donors do not have to be deceased for their face to be donated" is especially frightening.

Re:The donor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31959630)

Browsing facebook.com and picking the one you feel would suite you. Then make a contract at hitman.us. Their service is excellent!

Damn it, Dick! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31958864)

The unnamed recipient originally injured himself in a shooting accident...

Dick Cheney needs to stop shooting his friends in the face.

How on Earth does he even get friends in the first place?

Re:Damn it, Dick! (4, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 4 years ago | (#31959264)

This was always my reaction to Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote [wikipedia.org] . Every week for 12 years, one of her closest friends would get knocked off, and she would have to step in and solve the murder. And yet she still had friends! You'd think after a while people would figure out that being her friend was hazardous to their health, wouldn't you? Personally, I would have suspected she was offing them herself and framing other people for it pretty early on.

So, what exactly do you think the reaction down at the country club is like when Cheney rolls in and asks, "Hey! Anybody wanna go huntin'?"

Now it's a medical procedure... (2, Interesting)

Cruciform (42896) | about 4 years ago | (#31958866)

Just wait until this becomes a cosmetic procedure for the rich. A few years of refinement and advances in microsurgery, and then they'll be raising clones of rich people in jungle compounds down in Brazil...

Re:Now it's a medical procedure... (1)

Jahava (946858) | about 4 years ago | (#31958928)

Just wait until this becomes a cosmetic procedure for the rich. A few years of refinement and advances in microsurgery, and then they'll be raising clones of rich people in jungle compounds down in Brazil...

That and/or having attractive poor people selling their faces on the black market...

Re:Now it's a medical procedure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31959336)

If MST3K gets to make fun of that one too, it might be worth it.

Re:Now it's a medical procedure... (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | about 4 years ago | (#31959568)

Right, because anti-rejection drugs and a face full of nerve damage are waaaaay better than a few wrinkles.

Re:Now it's a medical procedure... (1)

BoppreH (1520463) | about 4 years ago | (#31959826)

jungle compounds down in Brazil

+3 Interesting? What, do you think this is the Lost island and we are stuck in the 16th century?

Yeah but what does the donor look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31958872)

What does the donor look like now, and what are they going to do about not having a face?

Re:Yeah but what does the donor look like? (1)

surmak (1238244) | about 4 years ago | (#31959116)

What does the donor look like now, and what are they going to do about not having a face?

Rot in the ground as worm food. (As most organ donor do.)

Re:Yeah but what does the donor look like? (2, Funny)

hldn (1085833) | about 4 years ago | (#31959582)

What does the donor look like now, and what are they going to do about not having a face?

he's going to get a face from another donor. duh.

Weak. (1)

dreamer.redeemer (1600257) | about 4 years ago | (#31958876)

Let me know when the first successful full head transplant takes place.

Re:Weak. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31959014)

One wonders if that would be harder or easier than a brain transplant.

Re:Weak. (1)

zero_out (1705074) | about 4 years ago | (#31959192)

It's not the same, but I saw a documentary about a decapitated monkey. The researches removed the head from the monkey, and attached a whole set of tubes from the head to the body for blood flow, but the airways and nervous system was 'disconnected.' The body was on artificial life support systems. The monkey was kept alive for a significant period of time. It was at least half a day, maybe several days (I can't recall), before they decided to kill it. The monkey would look around, follow objects with its eyes, and kept opening and closing its mouth like it was trying to gasp for air or 'speak.' This kind of research was soon considered unethical, so no further research was done.

Now, if there were a way to reattach the nervous system, and not have the various head tissues be rejected by the body, then full head transplants would be potentially doable. At least it has been shown that a head can be kept alive, separate from the body, long enough to do a transplant, and with negligible, if any, brain damage. For monkeys, at least.

Re:Weak. (1)

zero_out (1705074) | about 4 years ago | (#31959246)

Now that I think about it more, it may have even been the body of one monkey, and the head of another. It's been at least ten years since I saw the documentary, so I could be very wrong about that part. And yes, there was lots of video footage showing the monkey during the whole procedure, from preparation to death.

Re:Weak. (1)

zero_out (1705074) | about 4 years ago | (#31959896)

Here we go. From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

In 1963, a group of scientists from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio,[3] led by Robert J. White, a neurosurgeon and a professor of neurological surgery who was inspired by the work of Vladimir Demikhov, performed a highly controversial operation to transplant the head of one monkey onto another's body. The procedure was a success to some extent, with the animal being able to smell, taste, hear, and see the world around it. The operation involved cauterizing arteries and veins carefully while the head was being severed to prevent hypovolemia. Because the nerves were left entirely intact, connecting the brain to a blood supply kept it chemically alive. The animal survived for some time after the operation, even at times attempting to bite some of the staff.[4] In 2001, Dr. White successfully repeated the operation on a monkey.[5]

Already Done (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31958934)

This was already accomplished in Face/Off in 1997

Privacy issues ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31958938)

I guess we can just forget about blooring faces on google earth.
Since anyone concerned about privacy is free to get a new face.

Simply astounding! (5, Insightful)

JDSalinger (911918) | about 4 years ago | (#31958962)

Despite it being 2010, it remains popular to attack science and medicine as though they do not have a significant mastery of reality or how the body works. Achievements like this demonstrate that the human body is not only understandable, but that it can be highly manipulated and changed with life-changing degrees of success.

For all the people who claim that our medical knowledge is seriously lacking or fraught with error, this fly's in your face. Prepare for an onslaught of biomedical advances that will change everything we know about health and longevity. While the human body may seem to work like black magic, perhaps like an infinitely complex analog circuit, advances in understanding are steadily being made. There are real achievers in these domains and they are standing on the shoulders of giants, accruing the tools to solve any physiological problem.

Re:Simply astounding! (1)

justin12345 (846440) | about 4 years ago | (#31959094)

I don't think that's really an argument that anyone makes around here. Few /.ers would attest that the body works like "black magic".

Though the Americans might argue that its difficult to get access to any of these biomedical advances.

Re:Simply astounding! (1)

maxume (22995) | about 4 years ago | (#31959278)

You need to throw a 'many' in that second paragraph. For people that can afford it, there is plenty of care to be had in the United States.

(Not that I can particularly afford it, but our problem isn't that there are no doctors, it is not that there is no medical technology, and it is not that there are no medical facilities, our problem is that using those things costs a lot of money)

Re:Simply astounding! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31959286)

Plus, if it flies in your face much too hard, now they can fix it.

Please... (1)

sophomoric (1715780) | about 4 years ago | (#31959006)

I don't know how they verified the 'first' full one, but I've had some pretty rough face plants of my own. Never snowboarding again... /s

first? (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | about 4 years ago | (#31959032)

i'm too lazy to look for old stories, but i swear this is the 4th or 5th "first full face transplant" story i've read in the last 5 years. i remember the pictures from a previous story and it didn't look good.

Health care reform is needed! (1)

tacarat (696339) | about 4 years ago | (#31959086)

Harry Whittington got shot 4 years ago and they're only fixing his face now?

Re:Health care reform is needed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31959852)

I think this guy's name was Marvin. Vincent shot him by accident.

Let me get this straight (3, Interesting)

goffster (1104287) | about 4 years ago | (#31959186)

A 30 member medical team is willing to reconstruct the face of someone who
blew his own face off. I wonder how much that cost?

I wonder how much it costs to vaccinate a single child
against yellow fever ?

Re:Let me get this straight (4, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | about 4 years ago | (#31959204)

While I get your point in all of this there is also the fact that the research value of this is well worth their time too.

Re:Let me get this straight (2, Insightful)

MrMista_B (891430) | about 4 years ago | (#31959418)

Hey, you know this computer you're using to post to Slashdot?

Yeah, I wonder how much it costs to vaccinate a single child, indeed, hypocrite.

Re:Let me get this straight (2, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 years ago | (#31959644)

Hold on, you have just spent time reading about this on /. and commenting, but you could have been outside, helping the needy!

Re:Let me get this straight (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31959672)

Hey you hypocritical shit. There's work to be done down at the soup kitchen. Get your lazy ass off slashdot and help out! Sell your computer and get those kids vaccinated!

Cost: Cero Euros... Really, No joke. (1)

viraltus (1102365) | about 4 years ago | (#31959922)

Healthcare in Spain is universal and free, so I guarantee you this guy paid NOTHING and the doctors were happy to do the work for the chanllenge as part of their daily job. There are many things I don't like in Spain but healthcare is pretty good.

Skin deep, man (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 4 years ago | (#31959248)

Yeah, yeah, now you've covered your mug with a pretty face, but you're still an ugly person. And fat.

You know who you are, fuglies.

Cheeky (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 4 years ago | (#31959288)

There is no truth to the rumor that the recipient is now referred to by his friends as "that two-faced bastard."
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