Donor Face Starting to Fail Six Years After Woman Received Face Transplant

A woman named Carmen Blandin Tarleton received a face transplant 6 years ago after surviving severe burn injuries. The 51-year-old woman has been told by doctors that underlying tissue damage is now failing the face that she received from her donor. Tarleton is reportedly looking for a second face transplant.

Tarleton underwent a severe domestic abuse incident back in 2007 when her ex-husband assaulted her with a baseball bat and poured lye upon her. She was left with about 80% of her body burnt. Six years ago, she underwent a face transplant at the Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in Boston. Tarleton, who has currently been living in Manchester, New Hampshire, said while speaking to The Boston Globe that she didn’t regret the transplant as it brought an impressive change in her life. “I had such a low quality of life prior to my face transplant. Do I wish it had lasted 10 or 20 years? Of course,” Tarleton said.

A man from France underwent a second face transplant last year when his immune system no longer supported the donor face he received eight years ago. There have been above 40 cases of face transplants in the world so far out of which 15 have taken place in the US. The doctors involved with Tarleton reminded that the field of face transplants is still a new one and largely experimental. There needs to be conducted more research in the area to unveil the various benefits and long-term risks involved in the transplant.

Dr. Brian Gastman, who performed the first face transplant in the U.S. 11 years before, said that more patients are beginning to undergo chronic rejection episodes. According to the news agency, Gastman, who is a transplant surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, said that at some point, “We all believe every patient will likely need a retransplant.”

By Sewell Chan

Sewell is the editor in chief of SG Research Sphere. He studied journalism from Stanford University. Sewell covers Healthcare and Business news. He has toiled in the field of business and commodities for 15 years. Other the news coverage, he handles additional roles and responsibilities such as revenue generation, deciding editorial policies, handling comments and replying to them