Man Who Couldn't Breathe Gets Rare Transplant Just 2 similar but less extensive transplants have previously taken place By Newser Editors and Wire Services Posted May 4, 2015 12:48 PM CDT 3 comments Comments Stock photo. (AP Photo/University of Goteborg, Johan Wingborg) (Newser) – Polish surgeons say they have successfully performed a rare and extensive transplant of the throat area. Prof. Adam Maciejewski said today the 37-year-old patient suffered from advanced cancer of the voice box, making it impossible for him to breathe, swallow, and speak. Other parts involved in the rare transplant included the windpipe, esophagus, and thyroid gland. The patient, identified only as Michal, appeared at the medical team's news conference at the Oncology Center in the southern town of Gliwice, and whispered thanks. The transplant, from a donor, took place on April 11. Maciejewski said recovery was satisfactory, and he added that two similar but less extensive transplants have been previously performed in the world. In 2013, his team did a life-saving transplant of almost the entire face on another patient.