Doctors Perform World's First Skull-Scalp Transplant

| by Michael Allen

Surgeons from Houston Methodist Hospital and MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas reportedly performed the world's first partial skull and scalp transplant on May 22.

This is the first kind of this transplant using material from a human donor, not an artificial implant or bone graft.

The 15-hour surgery on Jim Boysen also included kidney and pancreas transplants, noted the Daily Mail.

According to the Associated Press, Boysen was facing multiple complications, from radiation treatments destroying part of his head to treat a rare cancer — leiomyosarcoma — to immune suppression drugs that were stopping his scalp from healing.

Additionally, Boysen's kidney and pancreas, originally transplanted in 1992, were beginning to fail the 55-year-old who has diabetes.

But surgeons could not do the kidney and pancreas transplants because Boysen had an open head wound, which reached through his skull to his brain.

Dr. Jesse Selber, a plastic surgeon at MD Anderson, came up with the idea of doing the partial skull and scalp transplant with the kidney and pancreas transplants in one operation.

Boysen was pleasantly surprised at how well the surgeons matched him with a donor's similar skin and hair color.

"It's kind of shocking, really, how good they got it. I will have way more hair than when I was 21," Boysen told AP.

Boysen added that he already feels sensation in his transplanted scalp.

"That kind of shocked the doctor. He was doing a test yesterday and I said, "Ouch I feel that.' He kind of jumped back," Boysen said.

Sources: AP, Daily Mail
Image Credit: staff. "Blausen gallery 2014". Wikiversity Journal of Medicine.