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Arkansas army veteran receives world’s first whole-eye and partial-face transplant

A army veteran who acquired the first-ever whole-eye and partial-face transplant is talking out in regards to the life-changing surgical procedure.

The recipient, 46-year-old Aaron James of Sizzling Springs, Arkansaswas working as {an electrical} lineman in 2021 when his face touched a stay wire — and acquired a 7,200-volt electrical shock.

Because of the accident, James misplaced his left eye, most of his left arm, his nostril and lips, his entrance enamel, his left cheek space and his chin, in keeping with a press launch from NYU Langone Well being.

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On May 27 of this year, James underwent a 21-hour surgery.

It was led by Eduardo D. Rodriguez, M.D., DDS, director of the Face Transplant Program and chair of the Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery at NYU Langone.

Aaron James is pictured with Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez, director of the Face Transplant Program and chair of the Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery at NYU Langone. (NYU Langone Health)

The surgical team included more than 140 medical professionals.

James received an entire left eye and a portion of a face from a single donor.

This was the world’s first transplant of an entire human eye and the one profitable mixed transplant, the discharge acknowledged.

Dr. Rodriguez performing surgery

James acquired a whole left eye and a portion of a face from a single donor, on the earth’s first transplant of an entire human eye and the one profitable mixed transplant. (Joe Carrotta – NYU Langone Well being)

It was Rodriguez’s fifth face transplant.

In a press convention on Thursday, Nov. 9, James spoke in regards to the progress he is made within the months since his surgical procedure.

“We’ve made one major step forward and have paved the way for the next chapter to restore vision.”

He described June 10, 2021, the day of the accident, as “a day I don’t remember but one I’ll never forget.”

He additionally stated, “It was a test of strength and willpower. From the time I woke up from a six-week coma, they were already talking about a possible chance of a face transplant.”

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James stated he already knew of Dr. Rodriguez’s and NYU Langone’s robust fame.

“I didn’t feel like there was anyone else who could do this the way that Dr. Rodriguez and his team could — and I think they’ve proven that.”

James went on to thank the donor and the donor household.

Aaron James

James of Sizzling Springs, Arkansas, is proven from years in the past. He served within the Nationwide Guard for 10 years. (James household)

“Without them, none of this could have been possible,” he stated. “I have the utmost respect for them, to be able to make this decision to help people that they don’t know, and to give me this gift from their family to live on with, to take care of … We are so grateful and thankful.”

James additionally thanked his medical doctors and care crew, in addition to his spouse, Megan, and his daughter, Allie.

“Without them and their support, I don’t think I could have made it through this,” he stated.

“The mere fact that we’ve accomplished the first successful whole-eye transplant with a face is a tremendous feat many have long thought was not possible.”

“The mere fact that we’ve accomplished the first successful whole-eye transplant with a face is a tremendous feat many have long thought was not possible,” Dr. Rodriguez stated in a press launch from NYU Langone.

“We’ve made one major step forward and have paved the way for the next chapter to restore vision.”

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Dr. Marc Siegel, scientific professor of medication at NYU Langone Medical Heart and a Fox Information medical contributor, was not concerned within the surgical procedure, however he described Dr. Rodriguez as a “groundbreaking facial transplant surgeon.”

Mentioned Dr. Siegel to Fox Information Digital, “He is a pioneer in the field, and his success rate of recipients returning to normal life is increasing with each case.”

After the transplant surgical procedure, James spent 17 days within the intensive care unit.

Docs are nonetheless undecided whether or not James will regain sight within the transplanted eye — however there are encouraging indicators.

Six months after the surgical procedure, his new eye is receiving direct blood stream to the retina and it’s exhibiting “outstanding indicators of well being.”

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Primarily based on the restoration of blood stream to the retina, Siegel stated he’s “optimistic that at least some vision might be restored, which could be crucial for those who lose vision traumatically or for other reasons.”

Even when James’ eye doesn’t regain sight, “from a cosmetic standpoint, it would still be a remarkable achievement,” Rodriguez stated within the NYU Langone launch.

Surgical team

Only a portion of the attention and face transplant surgical crew is pictured right here. The whole surgical crew included greater than 140 medical professionals. (NYU Langone Well being)

“Aaron has been extremely motivated to regain the function and independence he lost after his injury. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect patient,” the physician stated.

“We owe much of our success in this monumental endeavor to the exceptional institutional support we receive at NYU Langone and the unwavering dedication of our world-class team in delivering the highest level of care to our patient.”

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The physician additionally stated, “This achievement demonstrates our capacity to embrace the most difficult challenges and drive continuous advancements in the field of transplantation and beyond.”

The highway to therapeutic and restoration

After the transplant surgical procedureJames spent 17 days within the intensive care unit.

He was then discharged for outpatient bodily, occupational and speech remedy.

Aaron James with his doctors

Aaron James appeared at a Thursday press convention with Dr. Rodriguez and Dr. Vaidehi S. Dedania, retina specialist within the Division of Ophthalmology at NYU Langone. (NYU Langone Well being)

In September, he returned to his Arkansas house along with his spouse and daughter.

He’ll proceed to go to New York Metropolis for month-to-month follow-up appointments with his care crew.

“I will forever be thankful to Dr. Rodriguez and his team for changing my life,” James acknowledged within the NYU Langone launch.

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“My family and I wouldn’t have been able to navigate this difficult journey without their expertise and support.”

“Our hope is that my story can serve as inspiration for those facing severe facial and ocular injuries.”

For extra Well being articles, go to www.foxnews.com/well being.

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