In August 2020, Joe DiMeo received a face and double hand transplant, the first successful surgery of its kind in the world. Nearly two years after a horrific car accident, DiMeo turned to NYU Langone Health and Eduardo D. Rodriguez, MD, DDS, the Helen L. Kimmel Professor of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, chair of the Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery, and director of the Face Transplant Program.
Simultaneous face and double hand transplants are extremely rare and have only been tried twice before. The first attempt was in 2009 for a patient in Paris who died about a month later from complications. Two years later, Boston doctors tried the procedure for a woman who was mauled by a chimpanzee, but ultimately had to remove the transplanted hands days later.
“The possibility of us being successful based on the track record looked slim,” says Dr. Rodriguez, who led the medical team of more than 140 people. “It’s not that someone has done this many times before, and we have a kind of a schedule, a recipe to follow.” So far, DiMeo has shown no signs of rejecting his new face or hands, says Dr. Rodriguez.
Read more from the Associated Press.