Frenchman world's first double face transplant recipient

Laurent Lantieri poses next to a screen showing different steps of his patient Jerome Hamon's surgery

Laurent Lantieri poses next to a screen showing different steps of his patient Jerome Hamon's surgery

The surgery has significance as it proves that people on whom a face transplant is not successful in the first attempt do have a chance of undergoing the procedure for the second time.

Dr. Laurent Lantieri of the Georges Pompidou hospital in Paris conducted a face transplant onto Jerome Hamon in 2010, CBS News reports.

Hamon suffers from neurofibromatosis type 1, a genetic mutation which causes severely disfiguring tumours and related complications.

He added that Hamon is now being monitored like any other face transplant patient.

But the same year - in order to treat nothing more than a common cold - he was given an antibiotic incompatible with his immunosuppressive treatment. A doctor prescribed medication that interfered with the anti-rejection drugs he'd been taking, and in 2016, it started to show signs of rejection.

Following the rejection, Hamon had the original face transplant removed.

There were no immediate donors, forcing doctors to keep him alive in hospital without a face for two months.

After three months in hospital without a face - as a donor was sought - Mr Hamon received his second facial graft on January 15 and 16 this year.

Lantieri described the condition as "the walking dead". Hamon also had limited hearing and writing, and could only turn his head very slightly.

"If you have no skin, you have infections", Lantieri told The Associated Press in an interview on Tuesday.

However, the second face surgery needed Hamon's approval. "But here we are, it's good, it's me", he told AFP news agency from the hospital, where he is still recovering. "So I've become 20 years younger", Hamon joked on French television Tuesday. "I understood I didn't have any choice otherwise it would have ended in tragedy".

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In the first-of-its-kind surgery, a man has been given a second face transplant by a French surgeon.

A huge logistical and medical operation was swiftly launched requiring the surgeon to cross France to remove the face from the deceased donor and rush back to Paris at dawn.

Hamon was left without a face.

Mr Lantieri said: "Can we redo a facial transplant?" Now we know that when it happens with a face, it's possible for a patient to again get a new one.

This exceptional case revealed an exceptional patient. He had no ears, no eyelids, no skin, could barely hear, and couldn't talk or eat. He speaks with difficulty. His new face remains smooth and motionless, and his skull, skin and features are yet to be fully aligned.

"I feel very well in myself", Hamon told reporters.

He said: "The first [face] I accepted immediately".

To avoid rejection, he underwent three months of special blood treatment to knock out antibodies before the transplant, and received chemotherapy to neutralise his immune system.

His first face transplant in 2010 was a success.

Anaesthetist Bernard Cholley said: "Anyone who loses their face and then has to wait for a hypothetical transplant for an unknown length of time - that's something that no-one has ever had to go through here".

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