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Johns Hopkins Hospital receives IRB approval to begin performing facial transplants immediately.

The Johns Hopkins University Institutional Review Board (IRB) announced it has formally approved plans submitted by Johns Hopkins Medicine's Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery to begin performing facial transplants. The approval, which was granted in late July, allows the hospital's facial transplantation team to begin accepting patients for the surgery immediately.

The surgery, which has been performed just six times in the US, requires advanced IRB approval of the team of specialists and their approach to securing donors, selecting patients, providing follow-up care and other surgical plans. The surgery can only take place with IRB approval.

"Facial transplants have the potential to transform the lives of people with severe facial injuries and we are privileged to have the opportunity to care for them," said W.P. Lee, MD, director of the hospital's Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, W.P. Lee, MD. "We will now begin to recruit and screen appropriate candidates for surgery."

"Each member of our team has unique expertise in reconstructive and transplant surgery that, in combination gives us depth and breadth of experience to perform this kind of surgery," Lee observed. The facial transplant team, led by Lee, will include Chad Gordon, D.O., assistant professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery; Patrick Byrne, MD, associate professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery; and Gerald Brandacher, MD, visiting associate professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Gordon, who will serve as clinical director of the Johns Hopkins craniomaxillofacial transplantation program, was a team surgeon in the nation's first nearly full-face transplant at the Cleveland Clinic, and helped lead the development of the facial transplant protocol at Hopkins. Byrne, director of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the director of the microvascular head and neck reconstructive surgery service at Hopkins, will provide complementary skills and experience in head and neck surgery. Brandacher, director of the Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation (VCA) research laboratory at Hopkins, will oversee basic and translational research efforts related to reconstructive transplantation.
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Publication:Transplant News
Date:Aug 1, 2012
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