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 (644 Responses)
  1. BE LL

    All will become much better after a few years.
    I imagine that the man must feel like an astronaut, traveling in an enclosed space vehicle, not sure if he has any chance to return.

    Bravo for his brave enduring spirit.

    July 26, 2010 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Kim

    MSNBC is another source of news. They provided more details.

    July 26, 2010 at 14:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. keith jamieson

    well said arnold! and shame on the idiots on here that make comments on this poor guy!

    July 26, 2010 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. BossMan114

    I wonder what happened to the guy.

    July 26, 2010 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Adrian

    I truly wish this man the best. And I wish this type of pain on all of you that poked fun........by going through pain you will hopefully grow into a better person and be more empathetic of this man.

    July 26, 2010 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Javier

      Hi someone. Not rlelay. I did not base it on that. I just used it as an example. It's just that most of my friends abroad always tell me that people's first impression of them is like that.But yeah, I feel you especially re your last paragraph. Most of my non-Pinoy friends always tell me that some of their lot find our being-so-proud-yeah-we'll-rub-it-in when it comes to our achievements annoying sometimes, especially on the Web.and the Kurakot part. the sadder part is, you know there's truth in that.Hey, thanks for dropping by. I appreciate your comment. It makes me rethink a number of things, actually.

      September 13, 2012 at 23:37 | Report abuse |
  6. glassbird

    How strong and positive Oscar is. To go through all he has is a true testament to his inner strength and positive attitude. It takes time for any surgical incision to heal...the redness goes away, the incision gets smaller over time and the scar is minimal. Oscar looks wonderful right now but I'm sure he will see some other changes as time goes by. What great strides plastic surgery has made. Oscar has fought one heck of a battle and WON! How great that he has gotten his life back!

    July 26, 2010 at 14:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. voicelesssnowflake

    Beautiful of heart transcend old age, race, gender, socioeconomic status and much more. So, as impressive of a medical achievement it may be, it’s utterly irrelevant to bring it under the shallow beautify scrutiny. Folks, go back to your work. Peace!

    July 26, 2010 at 14:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Liam

    This is truly amazing. Hey, what about that poor woman who was attacked by the chimp. I think that she should be in line next.

    July 26, 2010 at 14:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MrsFizzy

      I thought of her too – Could maybe be done. It seems that this whole process can take several years. They probably learn something new each time and hopefully one day it will be routine in cases of injury / deformation.

      July 26, 2010 at 14:53 | Report abuse |
  9. Rebfrew Rose

    Perhaps you should look into assisted suicide.

    July 26, 2010 at 14:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • person

      you are mean he barley had a face before so just shush your mouth!!!!!!

      July 28, 2010 at 20:19 | Report abuse |
  10. bbbbb

    As we grow up and learn to identify our "selves" with what we see in in the mirror, I have to wonder how anyone with a partial or full facial replacement learns to adjust their perception of self?? What a wonderful gift to have any damaged body part replaced. I am very happy for him. Just makes me wonder how you not only rebuild muscles and nerves, but your new self at the same time. Best of luck!!!

    July 26, 2010 at 14:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. DD


    Did the donated parts for the surgery come from a single donor? If so, does the paitent resemble the donor? Just curious. Fascinating story!

    July 26, 2010 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Leah (TXanimal)

    @Rebfew Rose: Where's the "like" button when you need it? You made my day...

    July 26, 2010 at 15:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. OtvoriteOci

    Wow, that is awesome, to go from what must have been true hopelessness to looking human again. Congratulations, Oscar! May you live long and lead the way for many others.

    July 26, 2010 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Leah (TXanimal)

    That is so cool! Who cares what he looks like...docs were able to make a man a whole new FACE.

    There are far too many people on this board with far too much time on their hands...when karma comes around to kick them in the pants, methinks they'll be thanking their lucky stars for medical advances such as this. I hope Oscar has a thick skin and a good sense of humor...and maybe a good right hook for all of you rubberneckers and busybodies out there who have trouble dealing with things that aren't "normal" or "perfect".

    July 26, 2010 at 15:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. JP

    As evident in the picture, the surgery still needs to be refined. His new face is stretched out too far off from his head and I wouldn't be surprised he can't control it accurately. At least, I am assuming, he looks better then he did before.

    July 26, 2010 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. stephen douglas

    I wish this person and others like him only the very best. I cannot imagine the disfiguring injuries that must have been. It could have been me, my wife, or one of our children. Be thankful for the good graces you have.

    July 26, 2010 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. for the record

    what I find most startling is not the derogatory comments people post in response to the reconstructive surgery that Oscar has gone thorugh, but instead all of the condemnations form the rest of the viewers. Immature cruelty is to be expected, hello we all went through elementary school, as regrettable as that is. But the others proclaiming their self-righteousness, making it known to the world that they are such a good noble person....I doubt it. All of you would stare slyly at Oscar, even the nicest people, it is a huiman reaction. Being confined to a wheelchair I think I should know. Get off the high horses people, it anonymous, no one will recognize how noble and caring you claim to be.

    July 26, 2010 at 15:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • inkling

      you hit the nail on the head!

      July 26, 2010 at 17:13 | Report abuse |
  18. Jen

    It is amazing that they have been able to do so much for this gentleman, and you have to admire his being able to go on with his life after such a horrific injury. Many of us would not have the strength of character that it would take to do so.

    July 26, 2010 at 15:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. mike

    This is amazing, Oscar most be very brave to give us such a personal view of his tragedy
    Many in his shoes would have given up on life, it is truly awe inspiring that he was willing to
    show the world his beautiful new face. I could only hope to be as strong as this man.

    July 26, 2010 at 15:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Derek

    Looks like a horses behind

    July 26, 2010 at 15:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Just Me

    God Bless him!!

    July 26, 2010 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Heptone

    Fine job if the only facial expression you wish to convey is "duh!".

    July 26, 2010 at 16:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. garble

    I just can't stop giggling.

    July 26, 2010 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. nowhining

    It's my understanding (from reading previous facial transplant articles) that the swollen jowls are due to inflated balloons to stretch the skin for future cosmetic surgery. I doubt this is the final result, but he looks amazing even now. Given the extent of reconstruction, this is an amazing event for the doctors and the patient.

    I wish him all the best in a speedy recovery!

    July 26, 2010 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. E.P.

    Yeah, but I'd still hit it.

    July 26, 2010 at 16:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Maria

    What happened that he needed the face transplant? Must have been a horrific accident. As for his face now, I certainly hope that is just swelling in his cheeks that will go down later. It doesn't look right. He looks physically uncomfortable to me.

    July 26, 2010 at 16:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Rich

    Normally I'd never say this, but CNN should not have allowed comments on this particular story.

    July 26, 2010 at 16:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • inkling

      why no comments? even if cnn hadn't allowed comments on this – opinions would still be made and readily available throughout the interwebs

      you get a big fat FAIL for wanting censorship

      July 26, 2010 at 17:15 | Report abuse |
  28. Carlie

    What a miracle for him. What courage he has! It has been so long since his surgery I'm sure with time it will heal much more and look even better. God Bless him 😉

    July 26, 2010 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Megan

    WOW!! amazing. I am so curious about this though, but what a time we live in!

    July 26, 2010 at 16:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Derek

    Scary looking. Did halloween come early?

    July 26, 2010 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Nabila

    Well done Oscar, for all the unbearable, unimaginable pain you have endured, and for finally seeing this huge success. Well done to the brilliant doctors that gave this wonderful man another chance to continue his beautiful life. This is truly a miracle. Oscar, you are a hero, an angel from God, who will receive many rewards in life and in heaven. I think of how we react when we stub a toe, sprain an ankle, or have 1 surgery, and I am in total awe and admiration of your courage. There are millions supporting you, praying for you and loving you. You have touched all our lives. The fact that a minority can be mean and sarcastic saddens me. Don't people know by now that life is unpredictable? That in 1 second, you can lose it all, due to events totally out of your control? That it can definitely happen to you? That no-one chooses to have an accident and become disfigured? Hasn't life shown us enough tragedies? Isn't 2010 about time for us to grow up, and realize that others misfortunes are a cause for love, compassion and prayer? Walk with pride and your head held up high Oscar, you are a beautiful man.

    July 26, 2010 at 16:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mohamed

      it is a wonderfull story of courage and dedication !

      July 26, 2010 at 16:58 | Report abuse |
  32. firebrand

    wow, such childish responses.

    why would i need assisted suicide? i am not terminally ill, nor am i suffering a great deal.

    perhaps you're both assholes.

    July 26, 2010 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Rhonda

    I pray God blesses this man beyond his wildest dreams!

    July 26, 2010 at 16:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. DrGore84

    All i can say is wow. This is why i think modern medicine is so messed up. This is going to far, they should have just let him die insted they made him a freak show. But all you liberals out there are gonna be upset and say stupid stuff like, if it were you or someone you knew..ect, i think i would rather be dead then look like that, and same for someone i knew. To me he is going to suffer his entire life, and he is goin to have major metal issues. The person he see in the mirror is not him, thats gotta be hard.

    July 26, 2010 at 17:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Laura

      Still, it's quite likely he's much more literate than you.

      July 26, 2010 at 22:17 | Report abuse |
  35. mmhm


    July 26, 2010 at 17:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Scooby

    Has nobody blamed Obama for this yet?
    Good luck Oscar...

    July 26, 2010 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JustTh3tip

      I LOL'd at that comment..BRAVO

      July 26, 2010 at 18:37 | Report abuse |
  37. Roundhouse

    I'm reminded of that song "Stranglehold" by Ted Nugent


    July 26, 2010 at 17:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Jaime

    One thing to consider is that he's still healing. There's still swelling and eventually (hopefully) he'll gain control of the muscles in his new face. This is something that does happen eventually as the nerves make more and more connections. The fact of the matter is that he has a face again. Another thing to consider is that this is the FIRST FULL Face transplant with many more to come. Techniques will be perfected and one day... perhaps you may not even be able to tell if someone received a face transplant. I applaud this gentleman for his bravery in surviving such a life altering accident. And yes, I'm American, not all of us are uneducated, unsympathetic and ignorant children hiding behind anonymity.

    July 26, 2010 at 17:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. JustTh3tip

    YIKES!!! "Ma...get my shot gun"! They should club him like a baby seal, that's disgusting.

    July 26, 2010 at 17:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Katie

    It's amazing what medicine has accomplished. This is absolutely amazing. Of course it's a bit shocking to see at first, but think about the endless possibilities that this brings. A modern day miracle!

    July 26, 2010 at 17:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Jaime

    I want his phone number so I can hit it.

    July 26, 2010 at 17:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. DM

    @anvenger206 also anti religion drugs, since God did this to him in the first place.

    God DID NOT do this to this man. An accident did. Gotta blame someone don't you!

    July 26, 2010 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. cimarron

    I think this is an awesome medical miracle. I'm sure as time goes by and swelling recedes that his face will take on a natural look. Some people just look for the physical looks of someone and overlook the very most important part! That is, the beauty underneath it all.

    July 26, 2010 at 18:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. cat

    He is brave. Whatever comments made by others in poor taste, those others are just a tiny tiny minority of human beings. Most of us can have great empathy and admiration for Oscar and wish him all the best. Tradgedy can strike any of us at anytime.

    July 26, 2010 at 18:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Stiletta

    @Christy...big hug, beautiful girl...there are several people in the world that society deems facially beautiful however they may not be beautiful on the inside...you seem to be...think positive and always think of yourself as beautiful inside AND out..confidence is usually key. I wish you luck, happiness and love!

    Congratulations to the facial transplant recipient..it takes much courage to make this public. I wish him luck, happiness, love and health..this is much more serious than the visual and I hope all continues to go well for him and his family.

    July 26, 2010 at 18:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Sondra

    In the not too distant future, we could all have designer faces....specially crafted to mix and match the latest fashion....

    July 26, 2010 at 18:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. YouAreFilth

    People are cruel and insensitive until it happens to them or someone they care about. It's natural to react to something different or someone's appearance that isn't quite what the public deems normal. It would be hard not to stare at this person if I saw them in "real life", but I give him so much credit for persevering and living. In a society that is so concerned about looks and appearance, I can't even imagine the emotions this person or any other person that is/was disfigured must go through. I am sure that most, if not all of them just rather have died than have to live with the face they were left with. I am sure the man is still experiencing a lot of swelling that will normalize as time goes on so this is probably not going to be the way they look forever. Even if it is, I am sure the man is thankful for having his life back. For anyone that thinks this guy is a freak or he looks "funny", you probably couldn't live 10 minutes in this guy's shoes. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    July 26, 2010 at 20:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. CNNJunkie12

    Congratulations to the surgical team and to the recipient. This is medical science at it's best. This is relatively new technology that will no doubt improve over time – you are pioneers and should be applauded.

    July 26, 2010 at 20:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Mike

    Can someone get this man a .......(calling Jenna J). Can't imagine what he's gone through...........Keep fighting the fight mate.

    July 26, 2010 at 20:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. sean Gove

    Finally Tony Hayward has a chance of getting his life back. Hmmm Changing the face of the enemy!!!!!!!! What a relief, He will probably be next in line for this one.

    July 26, 2010 at 20:44 | Report abuse | Reply
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