Surgeons at Montreal’s Maisonneuve-Rosemont hospital announced on Wednesday that they have performed Canada’s first ever face transplant.
Led by plastic surgeon Dr. Daniel Borsuk, officials at the hospital have detailed May’s 30-hour procedure in which the patient, Maurice Desjardins, has successfully completed his initial recovery stage.
Desjardins was involved in a hunting accident in 2011 that left him without his jaw, nose and teeth, despite five reconstructive surgeries.
The 64-year-old, after a week in intensive care, can now breathe without a tracheotomy, chew with new jaws, smell and speak properly.
According to Dr. Borsuk, the operation required the expertise of multiple specialists and the collaboration of more than 100 doctors, nurses and personnel.
In collaboration with Transplant Quebec, the province’s organ procurement organization, the donor’s family granted permission for the procedure.
Recovery and rehab will take more than a year as Desjardins has to relearn basic skills like eating, drinking, smiling and long speech. He will be on suppressant drugs for the rest of his life.