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Maryland Team Completes Most Extensive Face Transplant Yet

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the but-he-only-wanted-a-nosejob dept.

Medicine 36

An anonymous reader writes "A 37-year-old man injured in a 1997 gun incident has been given a new face, teeth, tongue and jaw in what doctors say is the most extensive face transplant ever performed. The transplant was performed at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The first full face transplant was performed in France in 2005, on a woman who was mauled by her dog. In a review of the first 17 cases since then, it was found that the overall survival rate after face transplant was 88%, with only two deaths."

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Sample size (3, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39508749)

Although 15 out of 17 successes is pretty hopeful, it's a pretty small sample size to be giving statistics (88% survival rate). If the next one they do results in a death, then it drops to 83%... a fairly big change for adding a single case.

Re:Sample size (4, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 2 years ago | (#39508879)

If the next one they do results in a death, then it drops to 83%... a fairly big change for adding a single case.

I think they're aware of that, and they'll make a special effort to not kill the next patient.

Re:Sample size (2, Insightful)

million_monkeys (2480792) | more than 2 years ago | (#39509691)

If the next one they do results in a death, then it drops to 83%... a fairly big change for adding a single case.

I think they're aware of that, and they'll make a special effort to not kill the next patient.

But if they don't kill the next one, their survival rate only goes up to 89%. So they gain 1 percentage point if they succeed, but lose 5 if they fail? With those lopsided odds, it seems the logical choice is not to risk it.

Re:Sample size (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39509741)

I'm not sure why, but million_monkeys sounds very apropos.

Re:Sample size (1)

jojoba_oil (1071932) | more than 2 years ago | (#39509657)

From TFA:

This was the 23rd face transplant carried out since doctors began performing the procedure seven years ago.

So there's 6 cases that have not yet been reviewed. I wonder why they were excluded from the sample... Too soon after transplant to review?

16,666... transplants (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39508793)

"overall survival rate after face transplant was 88%, with only two deaths."

Which means they did 16,666... transplants. I wonder who was the guy who got 66,666...% of his transplant.

Re:16,666... transplants (3, Funny)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#39509157)

I think you just accidentally math.

Re:16,666... transplants (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39511349)

I think you just revealed your complete ignorance that different locales use different decimal separators -- hope you never write any software of international significance.

Re:16,666... transplants (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39513185)

Hey now, don't assume. For all we know he could be the son of the guy who coded the windows file transfer estimation timer and it's a genetic condition. d=

Re:16,666... transplants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39519897)

It's the number, not the delimiter that doesn't make sense, smart ass.

17 * 0.88 = 14.96. => 17 operations, 2 deaths, 15 survivals = 88% success rate.

Re:16,666... transplants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39511311)

I could say something about sigfigs, but since nobody has made any John Woo jokes yet...

I guess they took his I want to take his face... off. Eyes, nose, skin, teeth. It was coming off. And then they only put a third of it back... perhaps one eye, half the skin, and a third of the teeth.

(Although Face/Off was kinda disappointing, despite being very good; I wish Woo could have had that kind of budget back when he was making really awesome films like True Colors of a Hero 2.)

About the dog (5, Informative)

mawe (1247174) | more than 2 years ago | (#39508831)

Just wanted to add the little detail that the dog that was involved in the 2005 incident didn't attack the woman. Out of context this sounds like a horror movie.

The woman's been unconscious on the ground and the animal seemed to be trying to wake her up. More can be read on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabelle_Dinoire [wikipedia.org]

Re:About the dog (0)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#39509255)

I'm glad you cleared this up.

Re:About the dog (1)

craigminah (1885846) | more than 2 years ago | (#39513601)

Gotta ensure the dog's lawyers don't try to sue...

Re:About the dog (1)

CdrGlork (1096607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39510717)

Oh, so the dog which was trying to do everything in its power to save its suicidal owner was the one that ended up dead? Fair enough. This is why people can often feel more emotional attachment to animals they don't know than to people they don't know.

Just so we're all clear (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#39508901)

A guy who shot his own face off is a deserving recipient of hundreds of surgeon-hours of reconstructive effort, right?

That's great news: I presume that it means that we've already fixed every birth defect in every innocent infant, yes?

Re:Just so we're all clear (4, Insightful)

psmears (629712) | more than 2 years ago | (#39508989)

A guy who shot his own face off is a deserving recipient of hundreds of surgeon-hours of reconstructive effort, right?

That's great news: I presume that it means that we've already fixed every birth defect in every innocent infant, yes?

So... you're saying that experimental surgical procedures should only be carried out on certified-100%-deserving angels?

Re:Just so we're all clear (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39509017)

This is why we needed healthcare reform, so more stupid people can suck off the system.

Re:Just so we're all clear (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39510297)

This is why we needed healthcare reform, so more stupid people can suck off the system.

Of course, because it was healthcare reform that allowed this person to get a face transplant. And who else, but yourself, to judge the situation from a soundbite and declare that this person is sucking off the system and obviously undeserving.

Re:Just so we're all clear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39509067)

Maybe the guy who blew his face off had less actual face than a kid with a big birthmark, and therefore, in a general sense, more in need of an actual face. Also, given the apparent 12% chance of dying horribly, which infants are you volunteering for the surgery?

Re:Just so we're all clear (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39509523)

Also, given the apparent 12% chance of dying horribly, which infants are you volunteering for the surgery?

The one that sat behind me on the last flight, kicking and screaming the whole damn time. In fact, I'm feeling so generous that I'll volunteer the kid's parents too.

Re:Just so we're all clear (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 2 years ago | (#39509109)

Don't be so negativistic. If I've understood it correctly this surgery is still half-experimental, so it pays back in knowledge? Besides, how many people do you think would volunteer for having a dead persons face plastered over their own? Even seeing the "before" pics it's still ghoulish.

Re:Just so we're all clear (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39509653)

>Don't be so negativistic
I think you meant negative...

Re:Just so we're all clear (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#39510523)

C'mon, it's all relativistic.

Re:Just so we're all clear (1)

s0nicfreak (615390) | more than 2 years ago | (#39509115)

He shot himself, not someone else. And he could consent to the surgery.

Re:Just so we're all clear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39509133)

I think the rationale is the same that dictates you should practice your calligraphy skills on rough paper before the card. That way if you screw up nothing of value is lost.

Re:Just so we're all clear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39509379)

Not intentionally. One could give him grief for not strictly following gun safety rules (always assume loaded, never let the muzzle point towards something that you don't want shot). The surgery was paid for by a grant from the military, as r&d towards helping wounded solders in combat. Make ya feel better about it? Article [martinsvillebulletin.com] .

Re:Just so we're all clear (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39509503)

Regardless of one's enthusiasm, and preferred metrics, for winnowing the innocent sufferers from the deserving ones, risky, experimental surgery isn't exactly altruistic.

For ethical reasons, of course, it is considered good taste to restrict it to consenting patients, and if it works you don't generally see the surgical team frowning seriously about the moral hazard of helping people who deserve to suffer; but the point is research. With an 88% survival rate and the complications likely to follow from the use of immunosuppresent anti-rejection therapy, it isn't even a sure thing that you could get an IRB to sign off on doing a face transplant on a baby. Maimed adults, on the other hand, can consent and provide a useful research population.

Re:Just so we're all clear (1)

spads (1095039) | more than 2 years ago | (#39510479)

Better he should have shot your face off, then for the doctors to replace it with your ass. Heck, I'd want a gander at that!

You saying no one (yourself included) has ever made a mistake?

Re:Just so we're all clear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39514251)

You want to see his ass?

Am i the only one (1)

Racemaniac (1099281) | more than 2 years ago | (#39509447)

that read it as "Expensive" at first?

Re:Am i the only one (1)

million_monkeys (2480792) | more than 2 years ago | (#39509513)

that read it as "Expensive" at first?

Nope, i read it that way too

Abbreviation... (2)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 2 years ago | (#39511705)

Can we abbreviate face transplant to faceplant?

Scary cellphone pics (3, Interesting)

GlobalEcho (26240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512215)

I had dinner last week with my brother-in-law (who repairs hands, e.g. by replacing a patient's mangled fingers with some of their toes) and one of his mentors, who happens to have done one of the successful face transplants. When guys like these ask if you want to see the pictures on their cellphones, it is best to refuse. Trust me on this.
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