After a 22-year-old Chinese man lost his nose to infection, his doctors began to "grow" a replacement nose on the man's forehead.
The patient had his nose damaged from an infection resulting from a car accident. Doctors decided the only way to reconstruct his nose was to surgically form a new one.
Tissue expanders were placed under the skin and then cut to resemble a nose, which doctors will implant in the coming weeks. When they do transplant the nose, they will use cartilage from his ribs to give the nose added structure.
Very impressed the Chinese figured out a way to grow a nose on a forehead pic.twitter.com/tgjGjhLhoi— Busted Coverage (@bustedcoverage) September 26, 2013
Dr. Patrick Byrne, the director of Facial, Plastic and Reconstruction Surgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, said forehead skin is used to help reform noses because it is the closest match to skin on the nose.
Usually the nose is reformed during surgery rather than on a patient's forehead, though.
"My guess would be that they felt that the tissue in the nose was so damaged they had to use the forehead skin on the interior part of the nose," Byrne said. "It'll be a real nose and [have a] breathing passageway."
Doctors say the forehead, while conspicuous, is the best place to regenerate a nose.
"We like to use similar tissues to reconstruct organs within the same area," Cangello said.
But the forehead also has many blood vessels that nourish the tissue transplant, and doctors do not have to disconnect and reconnect the vessels to put the nose in its proper place.
After the surgery, doctors will suture together the skin flaps of the forehead, which will leave a small scar.