A 64-year-old Canadian man who was left disfigured in a hunting accident seven years ago can now chew, smell, speak and breathe properly after undergoing the country’s first face transplant.
According to a news release from the University of Montreal, the 30-hour operation took place in May and required the collaboration of over 100 medical personnel, specialists and surgeons.
“This delicate operation is the result of years of concerted, meticulous work by an incredible team and the incredible bravery and cooperation of the patient and his family,” Dr. Daniel Borsuk, lead surgeon of the Hospital Maisonneuve-Rosemont and University of Montreal, said in the news release.
The man, whose name was not revealed in the press release, had undergone five reconstructive surgeries and was living with a tracheostomy, which caused him to struggle with breathing, sleeping, eating and speaking.
“As a plastic surgeon, I know that, no matter large or small, injuries to the face have a particularly symbolic aspect and are closely linked to our identity,” Borsuk said. “Facial disfigurement can have a detrimental effect on self-confidence and productivity, and therefore, this transplant offered immense hope and possibility in our patient.”