Melbourne, Aug 22 : Face transplants will soon become as common as liver or kidney ones, following the success of two facial reconstructions, say doctors behind the triumph.
According to the British medical journal The Lancet, the doctors who conducted the procedures have released images and updates on the condition of a 29-year-old man who had the lower half of a donor's face transplanted onto him 12 months ago.
The man's face had been severely disfigured by a genetic disease and doctors grafted on new cheeks, nose and mouth.
After six months the man could smile and blink again and the surgeons at the Henri Mondor-Albert Chenevier Hospital in France said he was doing well despite some complications.
"There is no reason to think these face transplants would not be as common as kidney or liver transplants one day," News.com.au quoted plastic surgeon Dr Laurent Lantieri, as saying.
The Lancet has also reported another successful transplant on a Chinese man whose face was mauled by a bear.
Surgeons replaced his nose, upper lip and cheek using donor tissue last year and he could eat, drink and talk within months, his doctors said. Both the French and Chinese patients' faces rejected the transplanted tissue several times.
But Dr Lantieri said the right combination of anti-rejection medications had been found for his patient, who now took three pills a day.
"That's less than most people with diabetes," Dr Lantieri said.
The world's first face transplant recipient, Isabelle Dinoire, said she fought to come to terms with her new face, including feeling disgusted by it.
The dog attack victim received the nose, lips and chin of a dead woman in a groundbreaking transplant operation in 2005.
"Having the inside of the mouth of someone else . . . It didn't belong to me. It was atrocious," she said.