Transplant patient woken up by doctors successfully
ANTALYA - Anatolia News Agency
Professor Ömer Özkan, who led the team of surgeons that performed Turkey’s first full-face transplant says a team of 25 doctors conducted the transplant. DHA photoDoctors have successfully woken up a patient who was given Turkey’s face transplant on Jan. 21 in the southern province of Antalya.
Doctors awoke Uğur Acar at around 1 p.m. yesterday and told him that he now had a good-looking face; Acar reportedly responded by giving a thumbs up.
Acar, 19, lost his face when he suffered severe burns as a baby during a house fire.
Surgeons had attempted face transplants five times in a month before achieving success on their sixth try with Açar, said Professor Ömer Özkan, who led the team of surgeons that performed Turkey’s first full-face transplant.
Over 50 people had applied for the face transplant, but only 20 of them were suitable for a full transplant, Özkan said.
“In the beginning, I had not counted Uğur among the four people [to be selected for the transplant]. I thought he would not be able to make it. We direct our patients to our psychiatrist friends. I saw that he could make it after he was interviewed by them,” Özkan said.
The team of 25 doctors who conducted the transplant was well-prepared for the operation, Özkan said.
Doctors used the face of Ahmet Kaya, who died Jan. 20 after attempting to commit suicide Jan. 8, in the face transplant. At the same time, they also used Kaya’s arms and one leg in a parallel operation for 34-year-old Atilla Kavdır, who lost his limbs when he electrocuted himself by hitting a power line outside his home with an iron rod to scare away pigeons at the age of 11.
Özkan said four of their friends had arrived in Kaya’s home province of Uşak before the surgery team did in order to reach the comatose and brain-dead donor by means of a plane provided by the Health Ministry. “Thankfully, that is how it happened because the patient had unfortunately passed away once we arrived there. It was a great risk. [We were] racing against time,” Özkan said. Özkan eventually led the operation at Akeniz University in Antalya. Özkan had also performed the world’s first womb transplant from a cadaver to 21-year-old Derya Sert on Aug. 8, 2011.