A Polish woman left disfigured by a huge facial tumour has revealed her ‘new’ face.
The woman, known only as Joanna, was left unable to chew, talk or swallow by neurofibromatosis - a genetic condition that causes benign tumours to grow along the nerves.
She has appeared at a press conference three years after undergoing Poland’s second ever facial transplant, which involved a transplant of 80% of the skin on her face, with few signs of her previous disfigurement.
Transformed - there is hardly any sign of Joanna’s previous tumours (Pictures: EPA)
Dr Adam Maciejewski, who performed both Joanna’s surgery as well as the only other facial transplant in Poland, spent 23 hours on the complex transplant, giving her the ability to chew, talk or swallow.
As well as growths and swellings, which are caused by a growth of cells, neurofibromatosis can also cause bone problems, pressure on the spinal nerves, severe pain, learning disabilities and vision and hearing problems. There is no cure for it.
Although many people who have the condition inherit it from one of their parents, up to 50% develop it from a gene mutation before they are born.
The tumours, called neurofibromas, are not cancerous or contagious and are unlikely to come back because the skin on Joanna’s new face isn’t made up of the same genes.
Surgery - Joanna underwent a 23-hour procedure
The world’s first full-face transplant was carried out in March 2010 on a Spanish farmer who had blown his face off with a gun during a hunting accident and was left unable to breathe, swallow or talk properly.
In August, former firefighter Patrick Hardison - who underwent the world’s most extensive face transplant a year earlier - revealed how the operation has transformed his life, helping him feel like a “normal guy”.