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Doctor: Full face transplant not possible

April 24, 2010 at 12:29 PM

CLEVELAND, April 24 (UPI) -- The doctor in charge of the first face transplant in the United States says he does not believe a "full face transplant" will ever be done.

Dr. Maria Siemionow told ABC News the Spanish surgical team that performed a "full face transplant" in the Vall d'Hebron Hospital in Barcelona appears to have made advances over previous surgeries, including transplanting teeth and a lower jaw. But she disputed the terminology used in an announcement Thursday of the operation last month.

"For someone to have no face at all -- they would not survive to start with," Siemionow said.

The first face transplant was done in France on a woman who had been mauled by a pet dog. Siemionow was in charge at the Cleveland Clinic in 2008 when a woman -- maimed when her husband shot her in the face - received a transplant.

Siemionow said about 10 similar surgeries have been done worldwide.

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