Face Transplant Patient Goes Public
Spanish man happy with result of procedure
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2010 4:06 PM CDT
Rafael appears in public for the first time in a news conference at the Virgen del Rocio University Hospital in Seville, Spain, on Tuesday.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – One of the first recipients of a partial face transplant is showing the world his new look. Known only as Rafael, the man underwent surgery in January at a Spanish hospital, where the lower two-thirds of his face was replaced with tissue from a dead person, AOL News reports. Rafael needed the transplant because he was born with neurofibromatosis, a condition in which his face was populated with non-cancerous tumors.

"I want to thank the donor's family and the medical team," said Rafael, who the AP reports spoke with difficulty. Added a doctor: "Not only did he not see himself as a monster, but rather he also thought he looked younger." Though he hopes his story encourages donors, Rafael says he won't be staying in the spotlight. He'd prefer "to be left alone."