Burned teen grows new face on chest

Burned teen grows new face on chest
FACE-SAVER: (Above) Doctors grew skin for a new face for Miss Xu Jianmei on her chest.

A 17-year-old girl from China's southeast Fujian Province has received a face transplant that was grown on her chest.

Miss Xu Jianmei, a resident of a small fishing village, was severely disfigured in a fire that occurred when she was five years old. She lost her chin, her eyelids and a large part of her right ear.

She was not able to receive treatment during the optimal treatment time because her family could not afford it, reported Xinhua.

But last year, the chance to get a new face was presented to her, when doctors proposed growing a new face on her chest, using tissue grafted from her leg.

Her surgeon, Dr Jiang Chenghong, said: "First, we took a piece of blood vessel fascia from her thigh and implanted it in her chest.

"Then, we inserted a skin expander beneath the part of skin where the blood vessel fascia was planted, so that the part could expand and produce enough skin for her new face."

After checking that the tissue making up a new face can be kept alive, it can be transplanted to the patient's face.

The last stage of the surgery was completed last week.

Miss Xu's new face was successfully transplanted.

Doctors believe the wounds left by the surgery will heal over the next several weeks.

Said Dr Jiang: "With her new face, she will... even be able to blush."

A similar operation was conducted in late September, when a man in Fujian received a new nose that had been grown on his forehead using tissue taken from his ribs.

Fewer than 10 operations of this kind have been performed in China's mainland.

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