Medical technology has come a long way in the last 40 or 50 years. With the onset of computers, all sorts of new things were suddenly within reach. Face transplants have always been one of the most dangerous and difficult of medical procedures to pull off, and computers haven’t changed that much. Only 40 face transplants have been successfully completed worldwide since 2005. But that didn’t stop doctors from trying to save Maurice Desjardin’s remaining years.
Desjardins is from Quebec, Canada – a country where this procedure has never, ever been attempted or successfully completed. The complex procedure involved a team of over 100 medical staff over 30 hours, rebuilding his jaws, teeth, nose, lips, and face muscles.
The 64-year-old man had been suffering from intense pain for almost 7 years after a debilitating hunting accident destroyed more than half of his face. Desjardins wouldn’t have undergone the surgery unless there were no other options.
On top of the pain, he struggled to eat, sleep, and even breathe with his damaged face. After the surgery, doctors are happy to report that he’ll be able to engage in all of these activities that the rest of us take for granted.
The transplant took so many years to set up because doctors had to test Desjardins for mental stability and medical compatibility. The Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont in Montreal provided the location for this incredible medical achievement.
According to Desjardins himself, the incident caused many issues for him over the years. He became a recluse, refusing to go outside due to the difficulty of social interaction. He was forced to breathe through a hole in his neck and could barely converse with anyone without an immense amount of pain and misery.
“As a plastic surgeon, I know that, no matter how large or small, injuries to the face have a particularly symbolic aspect and are closely linked to our identity,” Dr. Daniel Borsuk said. “Facial disfigurement can have a detrimental effect on self-confidence and productivity, and therefore, this transplant offered immense hope and possibility to our patient.”
Dr. Borsuk clearly understands how vital his work is to people like Mr. Desjardins. He’s very experienced in the field of facial reconstruction and the specific medical program, Transplant Quebec, also celebrated his work and their collaboration.
“We would like to acknowledge the donor family, who showed great empathy and generosity in accepting that their loved one donate his face and his organs,” Managing Director of Transplant Quebec told Mail Online. “The tremendous collaboration between Dr. Borsuk’s team and Transplant Quebec is one of the keys to the success of this first, which was so beneficial for the receiver.”
Desjardin’s will now be able to live a normal life, all thanks to the amazing work of these two heroic groups. Face transplants in Canada are now a possibility, and that’s a truly amazing thing for thousands of suffering people.
He is also the oldest person to successfully undergo a face transplant in history – yet another amazing record for this triumphant medical achievement.
What do you think of this miraculous transformation? Share in the comments.