For the first time ever, researchers have found blood vessels reorganizing themselves just one year after a full face transplant procedure.
During face transplant surgery, the patient's major arteries and veins are connected to those in the donor face. This provides healthy circulation to the recipient's new face — which helps ensure the body doesn't reject the foreign tissue. (Via Fox News)
Because full face transplants are a relatively new surgery, doctors didn't know very much about the changes that occur in the body to help guide blood into the transplanted tissue. (Via WEWS)
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, less than 30 face transplants have been performed worldwide since 2005.
But this new study of three face transplant patients at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston yielded some very encouraging results.
Doctors analyzed blood vessels in the three patients' faces one year after they had the surgery. And they found all three had quote "excellent" blood flow in the facial tissue. (Via BBC)
Before getting the study's results, researchers thought the healthy blood circulation was because of the artery and vein connections doctors made during surgery.
But one of the study's authors said in a statement, "The key finding of this study is that, after full face transplantation, there is a consistent, extensive vascular reorganization that works in concert with the larger vessels that are connected at the time of surgery." (Via Health Day News)
The findings are scheduled to be presented Wednesday at Radiological Society of North America's annual meeting in Chicago.