Teenage girl receives new face from tissue grown on breast
A teenage girl from the Fujian province in China, was given a new face from one of her breasts.
Xu Jianmei, 17, now out of surgery and stable, was viciously burned by a fire at the age of 5 which had left her permanently disfigured and scarred for 12 years. The fire took her eyelids, chin, one of her ears and most of her face.
Xu had lost more than just her face though. As a girl growing up in a small village, she had spent 12 long years with not only physical scars but also psychological and emotional ones.
Xu’s surgeon, Jiang Chenhong, explains that the eight-hour operation allowed Xu to express herself much more precisely.
The pioneering proceedure was carried out earlier this month in Fuzhow, capital city of Fujian province in the southeast of China, BBC News reported.
“She will even be able to blush when her emotions change, but it will take a long time”, he said.
“First, we took a piece of blood vessel fascia from her thigh and implanted it in her chest. Then we inserted a skin expander beneath the part of skin where the blood vessel fascia was planted, so that the part could expand and produce enough skin for her new face.”
Video distributed by state media agency Xinhua after the surgery shows Ms Xu lying in a hospital bed, barely conscious and severely swollen, but with smooth flesh now replacing the ridged scars of her old face.
The wounds from Xu’s surgery should heal in less than a month.
According to the Daily Mail, China’s first donor face transplant recipient, farmer Li Guoxing, received his new face in 2006 – less than a year after the world’s first successful face transplant recipient, Isabelle Dinoir, was presented to media in France.
However, Mr Li died less than two years later, after stopping his anti-rejection medication.
Since then 10 surgeries of this kind have been performed in China.
On The Web:
Doctors grow disfigured teenage girl a new face on her BREAST
Girl, 17, has new face grown on her BREAST after suffering horrific burns when she was just five