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Robert Chelsea

Face transplant recipient before surgery

Face transplant recipient before surgery

Robert Chelsea, before and after a full face transplant was performed at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in July 2019.

Robert Chelsea, 68, became the first black patient, and the oldest, to receive a full face transplant in a procedure at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in July 2019. Chelsea, a Los Angeles area resident, suffered burns over 60 percent of his body and face after his car was struck by a drunk driver in 2013. The 16-hour surgery, involving a team of over 45 surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, residents and research fellows and led by Bohdan Pomahac, MD, was the ninth face transplant procedure at the Brigham and the 15th nationwide.

The Brigham is a world leader in promoting and performing this life-giving procedure. The surgery is described as a life-giving procedure because it has the potential to dramatically improve, i.e., restore, both a patient’s mental and physical health. Learn more about the face transplant surgery program at BWH and the research that led to the breakthrough.

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