He Lost 2 Faces, but Now Has a Third

Jerome Hamon of France is the world's first recipient of two face transplants
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2018 10:20 AM CDT
43-Year-Old Now Has His Third Face

Face transplants are no longer such a medical rarity that they generate widespread coverage, but a new one in France is an exception. That's because patient Jerome Hamon has become the first person in the world to receive two face transplants. Both the BBC and the Telegraph have coverage, along with before-and-after images. "I'm 43 and the donor was 22, so I'm 22 again," Hamon told French TV. Hamon suffers from a genetic condition that resulted in disfiguring tumors covering his original face. He had a successful transplant in 2010, and things were fine until he caught a cold in 2015 and went on antibiotics. They interfered with the drugs he was already taking to prevent his body from rejecting his new face, and it had to be removed in 2017.

Then came a stretch hard to fathom: Hamon lived in a hospital room in Paris for about three months without a face, unable to see, speak, or hear until the new donor face emerged in January. "If I hadn't accepted this new face it would have been terrible," he says from the hospital where he continues to recuperate. "It's a question of identity," he adds. But "it's good, it's me." Hamon's new face is still not quite aligned, but doctors are optimistic about both his individual recovery and the bigger picture. "Today, we know that a double transplant is feasible," says Dr. Laurent Lantieri, who performed both of Hamon's transplants. "It's no longer in the field of research." (This woman met the man who received her husband's face.)

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