Teen receives face transplant with her new face grown on her breast

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Xu Jianmei after face transplant surgery [Photo credit: Reuters]

A teenager who suffered horrific burns to her face has received a plastic surgery reconstruction face transplant with her new face grown on her breast using tissue grafted from her leg.

Xu Jianmei, 17, was just five when she was burnt in a fire, resulting in massive scarring on her face as well as the loss of her chin, eyelids and part of her right ear.

She was not able to receive treatment during the optimum time due to the fact that her family was not able to afford the cost of the treatment.

Chinese patient Xu Jianmei after burns before plastic surgery reconstruction

 

The BBC reports that her face was rebuilt by a professional team from Fujian province using a blood vessel from her leg and a water filled balloon to expand her skin.

“First, we took a piece of blood vessel fascia from her thigh and implanted it in her chest. Then we inserted a skin expander beneath the part of skin where the blood vessel fascia was planted, so that the part could expand and produce enough skin for her new face,” Jiang told Chinese news agency Xinhua.

Showing how the new face is grown on the breast

Showing how the new face is grown on the breast

 

BBC Beijing correspondent Celia Hatton says the surgery is ground-breaking in China’s medical world, where the development of cutting-edge medical technology is a state priority, and marks a first step in this 17-year-old’s medical care.

With her new face, she will be able to express herself in a more precise way. She will even be able to blush when her emotions change”, said Jiang,” but it may take a long time.”

Face transplant patient recovering

Recovering from the face transplant after plastic surgery reconstruction

 

Chinese teams are said to have performed several similar transplant surgeries in recent months, including creating a new nose on a car accident survivor’s forehead, using a skin expander and cartilage from his ribs. That transplant was successfully completed in September.

Less than 10 surgeries of this kind have been performed in China.

Below you can see the video explanation of the face transplant procedure which Xu Jianmei went through.

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