First face transplant patient in Turkey utters his first words as he recovers after face transplant operation in Antalya.
Antalya / NationalTurk – The face transplant patient Uğur Acar’s first visitors at the hospital ward were Antalya Gov. Ahmet Altıparmak and Professor Israfil Kurtcephe, Akdeniz University’s rector.
Uğur Acar, the first person in Turkish history to receive a full face transplant, has spoken for the first time despite doctors’ predictions that he would not be able to speak for another two days. A clear sign that the 19 years-old recovers from the face transplant operation.
“He said ‘welcome.’ His voice was a bit muffled, but it was more than sufficient for us. He expressed his hunger and thirst. That was much better than what we had expected,” Özlenen Özkan, Assistant Professor, of Akdeniz University in the Mediterranean province of Antalya, announced at a press meeting yesterday.
Özlenen Özkan also stated they had discussed with Acar about whether he should watch television but added that they eventually decided against it because he might see his transplanted face on the TV screen.
“He responded with arm and hand gestures that this was not a problem for him. That made us happy,” she said, adding that Acar, who was removed from the intensive care ward Jan. 24, had also begun to grow some facial hair as well.
Özkan explained that Acar will slowly be able to make small facial expressions, adding that it will take about six months of intensive therapy for the young man to be able to make them fully. Acar, who has not yet seen his own appearance in a mirror, will be given the opportunity to see his new reflection next week. Özkan said psychiatrists will be at Acar’s side when he is provided with a mirror for the first time. The professor further added that the pictures being circulated in the press at present have been blurred due to bruising and swelling on the patient’s face.
Meanwhile, Atilla Kavdır who also underwent a parallel, triple-limb transplant with limbs taken from the same donor, which is a first time operation in World medicine history, is also in much better shape even though he must remain in intensive care for another couple of days, Özlenen Özkan said.
Tissue and organ rejection is the greatest risk for both patients, but neither patient has yet encountered any problem, Associate Professor Hüseyin Koçak said at the meeting.
Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel called Professor Ömer Özkan, who led the team of 25 doctors that carried out the limb and face transplant operations, to express his pride at the operations.