FIRST FACIAL TRANSPLANT IN BELGIUM

A few weeks ago, the transplantation team of the University Hospital Gent, lead by Prof. Dr. Phillip Blondeel performed the first facial transplant in Belgium. The procedure succeeded completely and was performed without any problems. The patient is doing very well, 6 days after the operation he could drink and say his first words.

This is the 19th facial transplantation performed in the world. Belgium is also the third country in Europe, after France and Spain, who can offer this type of surgery.

The Ethics Committee and the board of the hospital gave full approval and fully supported this project. The procedure was prepared during almost 3 years by a team of almost 65 persons, from medical and paramedical departments of the University Hospital Gent. This teamwork and the coordination between the different departments has proven to be essential for the smooth progression of the operation and the post-operative care.

Extremely severe facial traumas are still a big problem in modern medicine. Fortunately these traumas are seen less and less, but until now, classical reconstructive techniques can only partially restore the functions of the face (speech, breathing, swallowing, feeding, drinking, mimic non-verbal expression, etc...) in an extensive series of expensive surgical procedures, each followed by a long revalidation time. Facial transplantation will restore all function of the face to normal in a single surgical procedure and return the patient a face.

The University Hospital Gent has the ambition to found a center for allotransplantation (transplantation of tissues between 2 individuals) of compound tissues besides the existing organ transplantation center. Besides the face, other transplantations of hands, arms, abdominal wall and all other body parts, which are very difficult to reconstruct, will be performed in the future. This first facial transplant is only the beginning of a long experience.

NEWS

July 6th 2010: Professor Peter Mountford from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and affiliated to the Bernard O'Brien Institute of Microsurgery, is visiting our department. He gives a presentation on breast reconstructions and the role of tissue engineering in this subject. He also visits our laboratory and further agreements are made for a close collaboration between his and our department (www.bobim.org).

From October 27th until October 30th, the XIII International Course on Perforator Flaps will be held in Mexico City. Click here for more information.

On April 30th 2011, the spring meeting of the Royal Belgian Society for Plastic Surgery will be held in Gent. More information will follow, see also www.bspras.org.

This year, the 14th International Course on Perforator Flaps will take place in Seoul, Korea from October 14th until 17th. Click here for more information and direct rerouting to the official website of the course.

PRESS

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GentSelect spring 2011