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Cleveland Clinic's face-transplant program aims to help combat veterans

Cleveland Plain Dealer, December 22, 2008

As the Cleveland Clinic moves closer to using face transplantation surgery to help disfigured combat veterans, it is working closely with the U.S. military to avoid tissue rejection without drugs that dangerously suppress the immune system. The Defense Department is following the work of Clinic surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow, who led a team that performed the first face transplant in the United States. The patient, a woman who has not been identified, is recovering at the Clinic. Surgeons replaced 80% of her face, including the nose, cheekbones, upper lip and lower eyelids. The face and underlying anatomy came from an organ donor. The Clinic has been collaborating with the Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas, which houses the Army burn center and treats some of the most badly injured veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.