Firefighter thriving after getting the most extensive face transplant in history
Roughly one year ago, a firefighter from Mississippi who suffered substantial disfiguring facial burns underwent "the most extensive face transplant ever performed."
The NYU Langone Medical Center team performed the surgery and reports the patient, Patrick Hardison, has made an astounding recovery.
There have been no instances of rejection and Hardison's eyelids, a matter of particular concern, are functioning normally.
Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez, the chair of the Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery at NYU Langone who led the team of 100 medical professionals that performed the surgery, noted that one of the most important milestones in the patient's recovery was the lack of rejection episode.
He explained, "We believe this has much to do with the methodical approach we took in the matching process to ensure that Patrick's donor provided the most favorable match."
The news release notes that since his 2001 injury, Hardison had been unable to perform a multitude of normal tasks, but in recent months that has changed.
Said the recipient, "The surgery has truly given me back my life. I go about my day just like everyone else...I can't tell you what a sense of freedom it is to even drive my kids to school...There are no more stares, no more frightened children running away from me. I'm pretty much just a normal guy."
Doctors credit much of the procedure's success to Harding's diligence in following prescribed recovery regimens.