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July 26th, 2010
10:36 AM ET

Full face transplant patient appears in public

The world's first full face transplant recipient, identified only as Oscar, appeared in public for the first time at a press conference held at a Spanish hospital on Monday.

In March, University Hospital Vall d'Hebron performed the  transplant in an operation that took 24 hours. Oscar, whose face was severely injured in an accident, had undergone nine failed operations before being considered for the transplant.

Surgeons transplanted the entire facial skin and muscles, nose, lips, maxilla, palate, all teeth, cheekbones, and the mandible through plastic surgery and micro-neurovascular reconstructive surgery techniques, according to the hospital.

CNN: Spanish doctors conduct full face transplant

Although this is the first total face transplant, there have been partial face transplants in France, the United States, China and Spain.
Read about the U.S. partial face transplant recipient.


soundoff (409 Responses)
  1. Mabel

    What a brave man and what amazing doctors...this makes me hopeful for burn victims too.

    July 26, 2010 at 12:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Wendy

    This is truly a miracle for him! How amazing that doctors now have the capability to give him a new life!! I wish him the best!!

    July 26, 2010 at 12:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. lalverson

    This fellow is a rather brave man I would say. His appearance is a bit shocking but concidering the extent of his accident and that they were able to give him back something that he lost. His identity. Yes we humans are driven by looks and appearance they define who and what we are. Without a face..Honestly I cannot imagine how that would feel. I suspect it would make me feel not even really alive in a way.
    Clearly this man has a long road stil before his new face works more like his original. But he now has a face. He is now a person, and one with feelings. so I would suggest cutting him some slack and allow him to heal fully. and bear in mind. Nothing says this will never happen to you. So before you eye that rock...think.

    July 26, 2010 at 12:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Jen A

    Wow, that's amazing! I can't believe how good he looks, considering the operation was just in March.

    July 26, 2010 at 12:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Jason S

    Sir you are a hero to many you will never know. It takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there in the public eye and recover from what happened. I only hope you don't pay attention to all the stupid comments society makes and keep yourself focused on your dreams and goals as that's what matters to you. Good luck my friend! I'll be cheering you on.

    July 26, 2010 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. kazz

    best of luck to him!

    July 26, 2010 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Anonymous

    Possibly. There is possibly still swelling or implanted inflatable "balloons" that are being slowly deflated from time to time to let the skin heal and adjust in ways without scarring or wrinkling. The level of reconstruction done here is just amazing and it is no surprise it will take time for them to make all the adjustments to let him look even more normal. This is just the beginning of where medicine is going in the 21st century. The 20th century and it's amazing advances was just a warm up.

    July 26, 2010 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. erricol

    Thank you for bravely coming out and remind us all how fortunate we are. You bring our feet back on the ground and I hope those people here who makes fun of you would not be able to reach this stage if they're faces got mutilated in an accident. Thank you again and I wish you successful recovery soon.

    July 26, 2010 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. GAP

    What amazing work these doctors have done! This man's procedure sets president for future reconstructive surgeries! Job Well Done and fast healing for the patient!
    After reading many of the rude, disrespectful and nasty comments, it is clear that those apathetic people are severely uneducated and do not understand ANYTHING about how the human body works, the medical profession or the extent of the surgery. Do some research and you will regret your comments.

    July 26, 2010 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. eddie2soks

    Simply amazing and anyone who thinks otherwise is in need of help. I hope you eventually you regain all that you lost. God be with you...

    July 26, 2010 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. rivirivi

    He will look much better when all the swelling is gone. I am so excited that medicine has developed so much that the opportunity for people like this guy who practically had a hole instead of a face, to have a nose, teeth, lips, etc., this is so wonderful. Gives hope to many people suffering in silence, from victims of domestic violence to animal attacks, disease, cancer, car accidents, burn victims. I am so elated. Good for you Oscar, keep getting better! Congratulations!

    July 26, 2010 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. OriginalMFer

    The ad in the corner looks worse than this guy! anyone else see that? the wrinkled old lady? http://www.beautyuser.com/100/030102/?SID=44405434;35894081;

    July 26, 2010 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Kristen

    What a miracle this is. The amount of perseverance that goes into something like this, on both the victim's and the doctors' behalves, is incredible. I hope he lives a wonderfully happy life.

    July 26, 2010 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tomas

      I cherished as much as you will rveciee performed proper here. The comic strip is attractive, your authored subject matter stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an shakiness over that you want be handing over the following. ill surely come further before once more as precisely the similar just about a lot steadily inside of case you protect this increase.

      April 14, 2012 at 15:09 | Report abuse |
  14. Toots17

    I will give you the benefit of doubt that you're asking this question out of genuine concern – and you're not trying to make fun of this person. None of us our immune from horrible tragedy...- including you.....

    July 26, 2010 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Roundhouse

    Nice work on using my words against me, next thing you tell me is your wrote a book that contains the character Peter Pan who never grows up and lives in Neverland.

    July 26, 2010 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • justin

      That sounds like it would be a great book.

      July 26, 2010 at 15:10 | Report abuse |
  16. Sean

    In case people are wondering, his before picture is on a British news site that gives a more full article where you learn what was said in the news conference. Also, he apparently was injured in a hunting accident. He shot himself in the face, accidentally. One of his comments in the conference was that he can't wait to go hunting and have a beer again. So this "wonderful" and "brave" man went out, shot himself in the face, got a new face, and is now excited about getting drunk and doing the same thing over again. Not all medical patients who undergo massive procedures are heroic. Usually, they're just rich.

    That being said, the surgery itself is truly remarkable and the doctors are definitely the ones to be lionized. They literally performed a feat of science fiction and while it is still difficult to deal with and the face has been rejected twice since March, they are able to save it every time and have vastly improved the quality of life on this guy.

    July 26, 2010 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MrsFizzy

      Hm, well I can't help feeling that the back story spoils it for me a tiny bit but then the doctors probably didn't look at how the accident happened but the needs and suitability of the patient. Who is to say who is more deserving of this treatment? The French woman who had the first partial transplant apparently had od'd on pills (possible suicide attempt – it was in the press at the time) and her dog supposedly got carried away trying to wake her up and mauled her (the family didn't want the dog to be put down). I think that because of the way it had happened, the ethics of deciding to give her the transplant were questioned at the time, and I also remember she refused to stop smoking. But these are human beings, they aren't saints just because they had some misfortune. At least some of our commenters here aren't the ones deciding who deserves help or not. And as he is Spanish, he won't have had to pay for this himself!

      July 26, 2010 at 14:47 | Report abuse |
  17. Paul

    It looks like the whole "structure" needs some work, but it's still pretty impressive for a procedure take took only a few months.
    Why are people being rude to him? He's going to have to get used to the new parts, possibly through a lot of anti-rejection meds, years of therapy and (I hope not) social stigma. This has never been done before, or at least as good as this. He took a lot of risks for this.

    July 26, 2010 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Lunella

    Amazing technology. I just hope the transplant isn't rejected or he screws up like that one guy with the transplanted hands.

    July 26, 2010 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. nicole

    what is wrong with you people?? if you cant say anything nice dont say anything. This man was lucky enough to have this surgery and all you ignorant jerks can do is make fun. burn in hell and take you ignorant talk to Fox News or Facebook

    July 26, 2010 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Bino

    My prayers with this person and his family...

    July 26, 2010 at 12:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. MD

    Can you?

    July 26, 2010 at 12:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. krypt

    Amazing what science can do and is capable of doing. We may one day be able to reattach a head on an entirely different body. We've done it with chimps already; I just found that out today...

    July 26, 2010 at 12:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Caral from SoCal

    The idiots on CNN's board never cease to amaze me.

    We have a friend who suffered a severe disfiguring injury in service of our country. I am hopeful that some of the new technologies that are making surgeries like this one possible, will someday soon benefit our vets who are suffering silently.

    July 26, 2010 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Jeff S

    In all seriousness, if I had cancer, I would have the courage and willpower to face it. Not referring to the transplant itself, but the injuries and horror he had gone through to get to that point...I don't know that I could have done it. Congratulations to Oscar for making it through all he's been through.

    July 26, 2010 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. mslman71

    It's a legitimate question. Sheesh, stop being so sensitive. Given the degree of the transplant, function is a perfectly valid question. Would it have addressed everyone's sensibilities if he had asked if the man could chew?

    July 26, 2010 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. tse

    I think that may give me nightmares. I am happy for him but i cant help thinking how unnatural that looks. We have a long way to go still...

    July 26, 2010 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. SMC

    This looks far better than I was expecting considering everything that is involved and that it has only been a few months since the surgery. Simply amazing! Best wishes to Oscar!

    July 26, 2010 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Rocky Dennis

    Hmm, I'd have to see how bad he looked without a face before I could determine if he looks better now or not. At least his face doesn't look like a baseball with all the stictching. He should learn how to smile though instead of letting his mouth just gape open like that. It makes him look retarded and isn't attractive at all. Damn, I wish I didn't just eat my lunch. Thanks CNN.

    July 26, 2010 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rocky's mom

      Rocky, get back in your grave and stop commenting on other peoples' looks, you lion-faced monster. Even in death you continue to embarass me, don't you?

      July 26, 2010 at 12:52 | Report abuse |
    • carolyn

      Just remember Rocky, what goes around comes around and you are about to get what's coming to you...he may have had a face transplant but you need a brain transplant....

      July 26, 2010 at 13:01 | Report abuse |
  29. Jeff S

    CNN, please start posting the reasonable comments from people on these comment boards instead of moderating them out, and start moderating out the adolescent back and forth banter from some of the idiots here. Also, it would be nice to have a built-in spellcheck. I can't even understand half of these messages they're so badly misspelled.

    July 26, 2010 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Choices

      Did these mad scientists give this poor accident victim a birth-defect face?

      July 26, 2010 at 13:13 | Report abuse |
    • YellowSubmarine

      Isn't this look Paul McCartney from Peter Max's yellow submarine? Can he still sing?

      July 26, 2010 at 13:15 | Report abuse |
  30. daveN

    typical Americian crap..... ease up people, this poor guy has gone through hell.

    July 26, 2010 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. frenchbagger

    if u can close urs...then do it!!!

    July 26, 2010 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Dr. Frankenstein

    DAMN! They beat me to it, and did a better job, too. Maybe I should stick to LIVE patients?

    July 26, 2010 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Dr. Frankenstein

    LOL, after the transplant, good one! I don't think anybody else got it.

    July 26, 2010 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Betsy Ross

    I could have done a much better job, and I'm DEAD!

    July 26, 2010 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Mike

    Im so sorry and sad for this poor guy. I think anyone who has to go through something like this is truly a miracle here on earth, and one day will be transformed to be the most beautiful angels in heaven.. As a very fit, muscular handsome guy I am, I truly am totally stunned and saddened that this kind of tragedy can be bestowed on anyone. I hope and pray Gods love and grace surround him. Best Regards- Mike in Tampa

    July 26, 2010 at 12:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BraveNewWorld

      Mike, humans cannot become angels. Angels were angels from the start.

      July 26, 2010 at 13:43 | Report abuse |
  36. frenchbagger

    can u put urs where the sun don't shine...this guy looks good compared to what u'd look like if I got my hands on ur goozel.

    July 26, 2010 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Bucket Head

    He should just do what I do, wear a KFC bucket on his head.

    July 26, 2010 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Edwin

      I hope you take it off from time to time to shower or wash your hair...

      July 26, 2010 at 13:42 | Report abuse |
  38. Karate Kid

    Face on.....face off.........face on..........

    July 26, 2010 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bucket Head Lover

      Bucket Head, you sir are the most clever and honest person on this whole string. I commend you and your bravery for speaking your grease covered mind. I am an attractive KFC lover and as soon as i'm done with this double down I will come and find you and love you like every hero deserves to be loved.

      July 29, 2010 at 13:02 | Report abuse |
  39. Matt

    WAY TO GO OSCAR! You have an amazing will to live that only a few people can respect or understand. Cheers and god bless!

    July 26, 2010 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. John

    What would you doOo for a Klondike bar?

    July 26, 2010 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Pagipopo

    It kills me to read what some people will write when there's no consequences to their comments but Im grateful for the many people on here that see what a victory this is for this man who has endured so much. Keep your spirits up, Oscar. You've come a long way.

    July 26, 2010 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. pazyfe

    I am a mother with a child that has Downs and yes people are cruel, but at the same time, there are still empathetic,caring and loving people in this world. Imagine,here it is 2010 and even as I walk down the street with my son people stare and are rude. I have learned not to react but to educate. In general people are not mean they are caring. So here I am as an employee in the social work field, just trying to make a difference, accepting people for who they are and not for how how I want them to be. So to summarize,Oscar make a difference in the world and love yourself no matter what others say. And please give the heavens a chance, miracles still do happen!

    July 26, 2010 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Kalik Crick

    I wish him all the best on his road to recovery...

    July 26, 2010 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. AMR

    Science is incredible- so many possibilities. CNN, please keep following this story and giving updates on the progress of this transplant.

    July 26, 2010 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Wow

    I want to see his before accident, after accident shots too. This is not enough scary pictures.

    July 26, 2010 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. roughrider09

    everyone stop making fun, poor Larry King

    July 26, 2010 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. SpainTards

    Did this guy run with one too many bulls?

    July 26, 2010 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. N. Peterson

    I would rather kill myself than look like that. I'm sorry, but there's nothing remarkable about the procedure if that's how you end up looking.

    July 26, 2010 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Edwin

      N. Peterson: you are pretty shallow to choose death over looking bad. But if you were in his position, I would bet loads of money you would change your mind. Oscar, like most people who have been badly disfigured, has come to understand that he is more than his looks - he has a mind, a body, a personality, and people who know and care about him.

      I hope you come to appreciate those other parts of yourself, too. Identifying yourself with the way you look will lead to depression as you get older.

      July 26, 2010 at 13:33 | Report abuse |
    • swfl

      Well Peterson, why don't you go ahead and do it now? Once you die, your face will rot off so what does it matter?

      July 26, 2010 at 14:33 | Report abuse |
  49. brett

    how did they get the face? i'm an organ donar but i do not want to donate my face ... thats mine.

    July 26, 2010 at 13:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. beatlesReunion

    When did Paul McCartney announce this Beatles reunion? He looks great!

    July 26, 2010 at 13:03 | Report abuse | Reply
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