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New York University surgeons have successfully performed one of the most extensive face transplants ever.

In 2001, volunteer firefighter Patrick Hardison, then 27, entered a burning Mississippi home to save a woman and sustained major facial burns that extended to his face, neck, and head. He subsequently lost his nose, lips, eyelids, and nose. Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez at NYU Langone Medical Center completed the now 41-year-old Hardison’s 26-hour surgery, giving him a face he’d finally feel comfortable with. Hardison has had over 70 surgeries since the fire.

From NYU Langone:

“When I met Patrick and heard his story, I knew that I had to do all I could to help him—and every member of my team felt the same way,” Dr. Rodriguez says. “His surgery sets new standards in facial transplantation and will serve as an amazing learning tool. We could not have helped Patrick without amazing teamwork.”


The transplant took over a year of preparation for Rodriguez and his team to complete, including finding a suitable donor: a 26-year-old bike messenger who was killed in an accident. The surgery was completed in August and Hardison is recovering beautifully.

We wish Patrick all the best.


Firefighter Gets Most Complex Face Transplant Ever  was originally published on