News Picture: 'So Happy:' World's First Hand/Face Transplant Patient Doing WellBy Denise Mann HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 3, 2021 (HealthDay Information)

Joe DiMeo’s daily life improved forever when he fell asleep at the wheel on U.S. Route 22 in New Jersey on July 14, 2018.

The horrific crash left him with 3rd-degree burns on 80% of his entire body and a grim prognosis.

Now, additional than two many years later, DiMeo, 22, is the receiver of the world’s initial successful double hand and facial area transplant, and on the highway to recovery.

The historic operation, which took spot on Aug. twelve, 2020, at NYU Langone in New York Metropolis, associated additional than a hundred and forty well being care gurus.

More than 23 hrs, they efficiently transplanted two hands, 3 dominant nerves to the hand, six blood vessels, 21 tendons and a entire facial area, together with brow, eyebrows, both of those ears, nose, eyelids, lips, and fundamental cranium, cheek, nasal and chin bone segments.

Face and hand transplants have been done independently, but this double procedure experienced been tried two times prior to and was unsuccessful both of those occasions.

For this procedure, surgeons made use of laptop-created 3-dimensional guides. They ensured that bones were properly aligned and implants were in position to anchor the grafted facial area and hands to DiMeo.

Know-how aside, a significant component of DiMeo’s good results owes to his can-do attitude, in accordance to the head of his surgical group, Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, director of NYU Langone’s Face Transplant Software.

“He is the most really inspired client I have ever achieved,” Rodriguez marveled all through a media briefing.

And even though it hasn’t been an quick highway, DiMeo informed reporters he’s “grateful” and carrying out properly.

“I have been in a position to get again to numerous things to do I like, this kind of as actively playing with my canine and actively playing pool,” he stated. “I are not able to wait to get again to get the job done.”

Achieving this milestone was no quick feat.

DiMeo spends 5 hrs a working day in different varieties of remedy. He is re-mastering almost everything from how to feed and costume himself to how to raise weights and swing a golfing club. This movie displays his incredible progress:

Of course, matters appeared bleak just after the crash.

DiMeo was pulled out of his auto soon prior to it exploded, and spent about 3 months in a medically induced coma.

He underwent 20 reconstructive surgical procedures, together with pores and skin grafts and blood transfusions, prior to he was referred to NYU Langone for a doable double hand and facial area transplant.

“He experienced no ears, no nose, no lips, no eyebrows and severe scarring of neck,” Rodriguez recalled. “His hands appeared like mittens. They were wholly scarred and he experienced confined variety of motion in his wrist and hands.”

The accidents also influenced DiMeo’s sight.

“He was wholly dependent on care from his moms and dads to costume him, to bathe him and to feed him,” Rodriguez stated.

Starting off with the search for a suitable donor — a quest Rodriguez likened to “getting a needle in a haystack” — the odds seemed arrayed against him.

Mainly because DiMeo experienced experienced numerous blood transfusions and pores and skin grafts just after the crash, doctors were conscious that his immune system was additional most likely to reject any donor organs and tissues.

“There was only a 6% possibility of figuring out an suitable donor for him, and we experienced to go further than New York state traces,” Rodriguez stated.

After just 10 months, doctors observed a donor for DiMeo via Gift of Lifetime, a regional organ donor program serving southern New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Total time from accident to transplant: Just over two many years.

In the center of it all, the coronavirus pandemic intervened.

Just 3 months just after DiMeo was initial mentioned for organ donation, Rodriguez and other doctors experienced to switch gears to care for COVID-19 individuals.

Even so, the transplant group practiced the operation almost a dozen occasions over the course of a yr to make certain they acquired it ideal when the time arrived.

So significantly, DiMeo’s entire body has demonstrated no signs of rejecting his new facial area and hands. Rodriguez stated which is most likely thanks to a new immunosuppression program.

Since the transplant, Rodriguez has done many fewer substantial comply with-up surgical procedures to make improvements to DiMeo’s practical and aesthetic results, and DiMeo is thrilled.

“I am so pleased with the final results of my transplant,” he stated.

More data

Pay a visit to Organdonor.gov to study additional about organ donation and how to grow to be an organ donor.

Resources: Eduardo Rodriguez, MD, DDS, director, Face Transplant Software, professor, reconstructive plastic operation, and chairman, Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgical procedure, NYU Langone, New York Metropolis Joe DiMeo, Clark, N.J., facial area and hand transplant receiver NYU Langone media briefing, Feb. 3, 2021

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