Our surgeons performed the most extensive and successful face transplant to date.
In August 2015, a team of surgeons led by Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez performed the most complex and comprehensive face transplant to date. One year later, patient Patrick Hardison is thriving and has made a remarkable recovery. His body has responded well to the transplant, with no signs of rejection, and he has resumed many of his everyday activities.
“We are amazed at Pat’s recovery, which has surpassed all of our expectations,” Dr. Rodriguez says.
One Year Later: A Life-Changing Transplant
The success of Patrick’s face transplant speaks to the skill of the surgical and recovery team at NYU Langone’s Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery. A face transplant is an incredibly complex procedure. Patrick’s surgery lasted 26 hours and required the expertise of more than 100 physicians, nurses, technical staff, and support staff.
In addition to this being the most extensive face transplant performed to date, three significant medical milestones have been achieved in the year since the surgery:
- Patrick has shown no signs of rejection of the transplant, a common complication with all transplant procedures.
- The eyelids and blinking mechanisms that were transplanted have given Patrick the ability to blink and have preserved his eyesight.
- The surgery included the most extensive soft tissue face transplant to date, with no rejection.
Prior to the procedure, Patrick had lived with severe facial disfigurement for 14 years. His injuries occurred in 2001 when Patrick, a volunteer firefighter in Senatobia, Mississippi, entered a burning home to search for possible victims. The roof collapsed, and the burns to his face and neck were tragic. He lost his eyelids, ears, lips, and most of his nose, as well as his hair, including his eyebrows.
Thanks to the transplant, Patrick now has a new face, scalp, ears, ear canals, and eyelids. He also received selected portions of bone from the chin, cheeks, and an entire nose.
For Patrick, who is 42 years old and a father of five, having a new, functional face allows him to participate in the simple things in life again, such as driving his children to school. There have been special moments too, such as a family vacation to Disney World that included pool time with the kids. Prior to the transplant, that experience would have been impossible.
“There are no more stares, no more frightened children running away from me,” Patrick says. “I’m pretty much just a normal guy.”
About the Face Transplant Program
NYU Langone’s Face Transplant Program has a clinical research study that is open to selected patients for the treatment of facial trauma or disfigurement, burns, and acquired malformations of the face. If you are a physician or a patient who would like more information, please contact us at 646-501-4481.
Learn more about our research program.
Support Our Program
Learn about how you can support NYU Langone’s Face Transplant Program.
Eduardo D. Rodriguez, MD, DDS
Program Director and Chair | Plastic Surgery
Dr. Rodriguez performed his first face transplant in 2012. When he joined the faculty of NYU Langone in November 2013 as chair of the Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery, one of his goals was to develop and launch a facial transplantation program. To perform the most extensive face transplant to date, he led a team of physicians, nurses, and staff and educated them on the intricacies of facial transplantation. The team includes experts in plastic surgery, anesthesiology, critical care, emergency services, nursing, ophthalmology, perioperative services, physical medicine and rehabilitation, psychiatry, radiology, and social work.View Full Profile