Face Transplant Patient Goes Public! (WARNING: *Extremely Graphic*)
Published on May 5, 2010
A Spanish man who received a new face in a transplant this year checked out of hospital on Tuesday, thanking doctors and the donor's family for making the groundbreaking surgery possible. "I want to thank this family for the gesture they had as well as the medical team," the patient, identified only by his first name Rafael, told a news conference with the surgical team of Seville's Hospital Virgen del Rocio. Rafael, whose face was severely disfigured by a genetic disorder, said he felt "joy and happiness" the first time he saw his new features in a mirror after undergoing the 24-hour operation in January. Roughly two-thirds of his face -- disfigured by a condition called neurofibromatosis, in which nerve tissue develops tumours -- were replaced by the tissue, nerves, arteries and veins of a dead donor.