PARIS, July 8 (UPI) -- A French surgeon says he has performed the first successful transplant of a complete face, giving a 35-year-old man everything including tear ducts.
The patient, identified only as Jerome, had been disfigured by a genetic disease, Dr. Laurent Lantieri told Le Parisien. Lantieri is head of reconstructive surgery at Henri-Mondor Hospital near Paris.
The patient has recovered quickly from the surgery, performed at the end of June, the doctor said, although he said his "beard has already rejected his new face."
"He is walking, he is eating, he is talking," Lantieri said Wednesday.
A Spanish surgical team claimed to have done the first full-face transplant in April. But Lantieri said the surgery done June 27 was the first to include the complete system of tear ducts, the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph said.
Transplanting the face from a dead body to Jerome took almost a day.
French hospitals have been pioneers in facial transplants. In 2005 a woman whose face had been mauled by a pet dog went through the first partial transplant.