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Integrated 3-D Imaging Facilitates Human Face Transplantation
Date:11/27/2011

CHICAGO, Nov. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- By combining conventional medical imaging with some of the same 3-D modeling techniques used in Hollywood blockbusters, researchers are offering new hope to victims of serious facial injuries. Results of a new study on human face transplantation, led by Darren M. Smith, M.D., plastic surgery resident at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), were presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Devastating injuries or defects of the face are extremely challenging, if not impossible, to satisfactorily reconstruct by traditional surgical techniques. In face transplantation, facial tissue from a donor is transferred to reconstruct the defect, restore essential life-sustaining functions—such as breathing, chewing and speaking—and, above all, reestablish normal human appearance.

"This surgery is for patients with devastating injuries to the face, who have lost their ability to smell, eat and engage socially and have no other conventional treatment options," said Vijay S. Gorantla, M.D., Ph.D., administrative medical director of the Reconstructive Transplantation Program at UPMC.

Clearly defining and understanding the complex tissue deficits and defects that accompany devastating facial injuries like electric burns, blast wounds and accidental trauma are critical for both technical success and objective analysis of the return of function after face transplantation.

Medical imaging plays a major role in the entire spectrum of face transplantation, ranging from patient selection, donor and recipient surgical planning, and postoperative assessment of returning motor and sensory function. Face transplantation is a lengthy, complicated procedure that involves reconstruction of multiple tissues—such as skin, muscle, blood vessels, nerves and bone—by a team of surgeons.

Currently, to prepare for facial transplantation, plas
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SOURCE Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)
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