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The New York University Langone Medical Center on Monday said that a firefighter from Mississippi whose face was burnt during a home for rescue has received the world’s most extensive face transplant.
The surgery was initiated at the New York hospital in August which lasted for around 26-hours. The 41-year-old firefighter, Patrick Hardison, has now successfully taken the face of a 26-year-old BMX extreme bicycling enthusiast from Brooklyn who was declared brain dead after he met with a cycling accident.
Hardison was caught in a fire in Senatobia, Mississippi in 2001 during a rescue operation which resulted in loss of most of his facial features including his eyelids, nose, ears and scalp.
The doctors conducted the surgery which included the transplant of most of his features and also the entire scalp. Since the time of the fire, Harrison can finally blink and sleep with his eyes closed. According to the lead plastic surgeon of the medical team who performed the surgery, Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez said that the transplant of the eyelids was an important step which will now prevent him from going blind.
Dr. Rodriguez said that multiple simultaneous surgeries were performed during the procedure where Hardison was on one operating table and the donor Rodebaugh was on the other one. He also said that the NYU medical team had practised for an entire year to perform the surgery correctly.
Commenting on the intricateness of the surgery, Dr. Rodriguez after a news conference in New York said, “You only have one chance to land the Rover. The same goes with the face,” Reuters reported. In order to perform the surgery the medical team initiated slitting the skin from the back of the donor’s head gradually peeling the tissues to the front along with important pieces of bone that remained attached to the skin.
Dr. Roderiguez further said that the team took Hardison to MAcy’s for clothes shopping and no one gave him a second look in the store which showed the success of the transplant.
The surgery’s estimated cost which is about $1 million will be paid by the NYU.