Hopkins to begin performing face transplants

Johns Hopkins doctors have received approval from the university’s institutional review board to begin doing face transplant surgeries, becoming the second hospital in Baltimore to offer the complex procedure.

There have been only 22 such operations around the world, including the most extensive one ever performed earlier this year at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Read details in this Baltimore Sun story.

The procedures now can include not only tissue but underlying bones from a donor. And doctors at Hopkins and at Maryland have been working to improve the procedure and reduce the risk of rejection.

“Facial transplants have the potential to transform the lives of people with severe facial injuries, and we are privileged to have the opportunity to care for them,” said Dr. W.P. Andrew Lee, director of Hopkin’s Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, in a statement. “We will now begin to recruit and screen appropriate candidates for surgery.”

The team also will include Dr. Chad Gordon, assistant professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery; Dr. Patrick Byrne, associate professor of otolaryngology–head and neck surgery; and Dr. Gerald Brandacher, visiting associate professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery. Gordon participated in the first nearly full-face transplant at the Cleveland Clinic in 2008.

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