‘A new chapter in my life’: Woman gets second face transplant

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Carmen Blandin Tarleton embraces her surgeon, Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, during a news conference at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Credit: Charles Krupa/AP

Carmen Blandin Tarleton, 52, underwent her second operation for a new face in July after the transplant she received seven years ago began failing, according to Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where the surgery took place.

Tarleton’s latest procedure took 20 hours and involved a team of over 45 clinicians, the medical center said in a news release on [August 7].

“I am grateful to the team at the Brigham and to my donor for making it possible to receive a second face transplant, and with it the opportunity to improve my quality of life,” Tarleton said in a statement. “The pain I was suffering is gone, and I look forward to resuming my work and inspirational speaking as soon as possible.”

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Approximately 40 people worldwide have received a full face transplant between 2015 and 2017, according to the Mayo Clinic. The procedure is challenging and several patients have died due to infection or rejection of the transplant.

Tarleton, who suffered burns to over 80 percent of her body after her estranged husband doused her with industrial strength lye, received her first face transplant in 2013.

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“The pain I had is gone,” she said. “It’s a new chapter in my life. I’ve been waiting for almost a year. I’m really happy. It’s what I needed.”

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