MANCHESTER, NH (AP) – A woman who was severely burned in a domestic violence attack in Vermont is hoping for a second facial transplant after doctors recently discovered tissue damage that will likely result in the loss of her donor face. .  Carmen Blandin Tarleton, 51, was burned over 80% of her body when her estranged husband beat her with a baseball bat and smears her body with lye in 2007. Six years ago, she received a facial transplant at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, where she was evaluated for a possible second transplant.
Tarleton, who now lives in Manchester, New Hampshire, told The Boston Globe that she did not regret the transplant because it had dramatically improved her life. She learned to play piano and banjo, wrote a memoir and spoke with many groups for your life. She lost 20 pounds and started walking five miles a week.
"I had such a low quality of life before my face transplant. Do I want to last 1
More than 40 patients worldwide have received face transplants, including 15 in the United States. None of the American patients lost their donors, but last year, a Frenchman whose immune system rejected his donor face eight years after his first transplant suffered a second.
Tarleton physicians noted that most organ transplants have a limited life span. But her situation reminds her that despite her success in this field, face transplantation is experimental and is still a young science with many unanswered questions about the benefits of long-term risks.
"There are so many unknowns and so many new things. opening, "said Dr. Bogdan Pomahac, director of plastic surgery at Brigham and one of Tarleton's surgeons. Still, he said, "It is really not realistic to hope that individuals will continue the life of the patient."
Brian Gastman, a transplant operator at the Cleveland Clinic who made the first transplant in the United States 11 years ago, said more patients are beginning to experience chronic rejection. "We all believe that every patient is likely to need a re-transplant," he said at some point.
After her transplant in February 2013, Tarleton had multiple episodes of rejection when her new face became swollen and flushed. These episodes were successfully treated, but last month, doctors discovered that some of the blood vessels in her face narrowed and closed, causing the tissue to die. If the damage progresses slowly, it can go on the waiting list for another donor person. In the worst case scenario, the tissue will die quickly and doctors will have to remove it and reconstruct its original face.
"We all know we're in unfulfilled waters," she said. "I prefer not to have to suffer catastrophic damage."
It will take at least a month to evaluate Tarleton and decide on a second transplant, doctors said. Aside from the anxiety with her face, the synthetic cornea recently transplanted into his left eye has failed, leaving her almost blind.
"These are not the usual things that go wrong, but when things go wrong, you have to deal with it," she said. "I'll go back to where I was. How, I don't know. 19659012]