Donors Face for Transplant Is Rejecting Recipient Immune System

Donors Face for Transplant Is Rejecting Recipient Immune System

A woman was severely burned in a domestic violence attack in Vermont is hoping for a second face transplant after doctors recently found tissue damage that probably will result in the loss of her donor’s face.

Carmen Blandin Tarleton, 51-year-old, was burned over 80% of her body in 2007 when her estranged husband doused her physique with lye after beating her with a baseball bat. About six years ago, she received a face transplant at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where she is being evaluated for a possible second transplant.

Tarleton, who now lives in Manchester, N.H., informed the Boston Globe she has no regrets concerning the transplant as a result of it dramatically improved her life. She has realized to play the piano and banjo, wrote a memoir and has spoken to many groups about her life. She lost 20 pounds and started walking five miles a week.

Greater than 40 patients worldwide have received face transplants, together with 15 in the United States. Not one of the American patients have lost their donor’s faces; however last year, a French man whose immune system was rejected his donor face 8 years after his first transplant underwent a second.

Dr. Brian Gastman, a transplant surgeon at Cleveland Clinic, which did the first U.S. face transplant 11 years ago, stated more patients are beginning to experience chronic rejection. “All of us consider each patient will probably want a re-transplant” at some point, he mentioned.

Since her transplant in February 2013, Tarleton had repeated rejection episodes when her new face turned swollen and red. These episodes were efficiently treated; however, last month, physicians found that some blood vessels to her face had narrowed and closed, causing facial tissue to die. If the damage progresses slowly, Tarleton may go on the waitlist for one more donor face. Below the worst-case situation, the tissue would die quickly, and doctors must take away it and reconstruct her original face.

It’ll take a minimum of a month to evaluate Tarleton and reach a decision a few second transplants, doctors mentioned. Apart from the setback along with her face, a synthetic cornea transplanted into her left eye recently failed, leaving her almost blind.