7 Healthcast: Face transplant
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Transplant surgery has come a long way since then. Today Dr. Murray met with surgeons who can now perform partial face transplants.
"The face transplant is almost the acme of success, because it is not only saving a life, but restoring a life," Dr. Murray said.
French surgeon Dr. Jean-Michel Dubernard performed the first successful partial face transplant back in 2005 and says the patient is doing well.
"She is able to pronounce difficult words to pronounce, she is able to eat, to drink of course," Dr. Dubernard said.
Brigham and Women's is the only hospital in the country approved to do face transplant surgery.
"Whenever we find a suitable recipient-donor match, it would happen and it's very very hard to predict," said plastic surgeon Dr. Bohdan Pomahac.
But doctors are hopeful that when it does it will change lives for the better.
"I really think that although this is not life-saving, it is really a life-giving procedure," Dr. Bomahac said. "It allows the patients to return to their life, to have the quality of life that they had before the terrible accident, trauma, cancer, whatever it might have been."
Brigham and women's is working with the New England Organ Bank to find a suitable donor-patient match.(Copyright 2008 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)