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First Successful Face Transplant in Canada Gives New Hope to Patients

A group of talented surgeons from the Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont (CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal) recently accomplished a remarkable feat – they performed the first face transplant in Canada.

Led by the renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Daniel Borsuk, in collaboration with the University of Montréal, this groundbreaking procedure offered new hope to a scarred 64-year-old man.

With this success, the patient became the oldest recipient of a face transplant in history, showcasing the remarkable advancements in medical science and technology.

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The procedure, which lasted over thirty hours, required the skills of a diverse team of over one hundred professionals, including physicians, nurses, and other medical staff.

The seamless coordination and collaboration among these experts played a crucial role in the success of the transplant. Additionally, this achievement was made possible by the organ donation facilitated by Transplant Québec, and the compassion and empathy of the donor’s family.

Dr. Borsuk, a professor at the Université de Montréal, expressed his gratitude towards the team and highlighted the combination of science, technology, engineering, and art that went into this delicate operation.

The expertise and experience of the pioneers in face transplantation, combined with innovative approaches, contributed to the success of this transformative procedure.

Four months after the operation, the patient has made incredible progress. He has regained the ability to breathe on his own, chew using his new jaws, smell through his new nose, and speak using his new lips. The patient had suffered from extensive facial scarring due to a gunshot wound seven years ago, which had greatly affected his quality of life.


Despite multiple reconstructive surgeries, he continued to experience physical and emotional pain. The face transplant offered him the opportunity to regain the use of his facial features and ultimately improve his overall well-being.

Yvan Gendron, President and CEO of CIUSSS-EMTL, expressed pride in having excellence in reconstructive surgery within their institution. He emphasized the positive impact this discipline has on transforming lives and restoring a sense of normalcy to patients.

The patient’s life was greatly impacted by the need for a tracheostomy, a surgically created opening in the trachea. Breathing, sleeping, eating, and speaking became immense challenges for him, leading to social isolation and confinement to his home.

Despite being a naturally extroverted individual, his ability to interact with others was severely limited. The face transplant not only offered a solution to these challenges but also provided hope for a fulfilling and active social life.

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