World's first full face transplant

French surgeons carry out a successful full face transplant on 35-year-old man with a genetic disorder.

Isabelle Dinoire - World News - Marie Claire
Isabelle Dinoire - World News - Marie Claire
(Image credit: Rex Features)

French surgeons carry out a successful full face transplant on 35-year-old man with a genetic disorder.

In a world first, it has been reported that surgeons in France have completed the first ever full face transplant.

The ground-breaking operation, which lasted over twelve hours, was carried out on the 27th June at the Creteil-Mondor hospital in Paris. The patient was a 35-year-old man known only as Jerome.

‘It’s a world first,' said a hospital source. 'There have been partial face transplants before, but nothing like this.’

The Frenchman, whose face was deformed by a genetic disorder, received features from a dead donor. They include eyelids, facial muscles and even tear ducts, which will now allow him to cry naturally.

The new face will ‘mould itself’ to the patient’s bone structure, assured lead surgeon, Prof. Laurent Lantieri. ‘He will begin to resemble his original self – and not the dead patient,’ he added.

There has been some concern, in the past, of the psychological effects on face transplant patients. In 2008, Li Guoxing from China died two years after his transplant. It was believed the trauma of having to take strong anti-rejection drugs had taken their toll.

Jerome will be watched closely, but for now the patient is reportedly doing well. ‘He is walking, eating and talking,’ said Prof. Lantieri.

This procedure is the fourth face transplant carried out in France in as many years. French medics first hit the headlines in 2005, when Isabelle Dinoire underwent the first face transplant after her original face was mutilated by her pet dog.

British surgeons may be unnerved by this latest success, as they are lagging far behind in the dubbed ‘Face Race’, with their medical teams yet to perform one.


Natalia Lubomirski
Natalia is a health journalist with 14 years experience in the publishing industry. She has worked for a number of well known magazines and websites including Marie Claire, Woman&Home, Top Sante, Boots and The Telegraph.  She likes to think she practices what she preaches when it comes to health and fitness. Her athletic prowess began early. A keen fencer for 13 years, she wielded an epée for Olympic Team GB during her teenage years. She likes to think she made sword-fighting cool before Game of Thrones came along! While working on her sporting performance with the team, she also participated in a lot of nutrition and psychology training, When it comes to time off, you’ll most likely find her up a mountain somewhere. It seems holidays have become a time for climbing several thousand feet, rather than chilling out. She’s now hiked eight of the major mountain ranges across four continents – including the Appalachians, the Smokies, the Sierra Nevadas (she spent her honeymoon hiking to the top of Half Dome), as well as hitting the summits of Snowdon, Pen-Y-Fan (Brecon Beacons), Table Mountain in South Africa, the Blue Mountains in Australia and the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. She’s also passionate about all things health, particularly vaccinations, and will happily jump on her soap box at any given opportunity to talk about their benefits to anyone who will listen!