• 6/30/2008
  • Cardiff, Wales
  • Madeleine Brindley
  • Wales Online (www.walesonline.co.uk)

THE leader of the team which carried out the world’s first face transplant will lecture at a major international medical conference to be held in Cardiff.

Professor Bernard Devauchelle, from Amiens, France, made international headlines in 2005 when his team carried out the world’s first face transplant on a 40-year-old French woman, Isabelle Dinoire, who had been mauled by a dog.

He will be among a number of prominent speakers at the International Conference on Advanced and Digital Technology in Head and Neck Reconstruction, which is being held in the UK for the first time.

The conference, which runs until tomorrow, will look at the ways new technologies have advanced the field of reconstruction of the face.

The conference has been organised by surgeons at Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University NHS Trust and from the University Hospital of Wales, in Cardiff.

It comes as a series of major new developments have been made in the discipline at Morriston Hospital, in Swansea.

The hospital is the first in Wales to install a £30,000 3D facial soft tissue scanner which can to link with other CT and MRI scanners to build up as complete a picture as possible of a patient’s face and aid surgeons in planning treatment.

An operating theatre at Morriston has also been equipped with an electronic medical images system, allowing a complex software system to be operated as surgery is under way.

This gives surgeons extra information to help fine-tune and improve results.

Adrian Sugar, a consultant cleft and maxillofacial surgeon, at Morriston Hospital, who is also the conference’s joint chairman, said: “We have been asked to trial a new 3D X-ray scanner which will allow us to check our work on the operating table before we close the wound.

“We will be sharing the scanner with our neurosurgery and orthopaedic colleagues.”

He said the advancements would enable his team to carry out ever more precise surgery on patients, who range from trauma and accident victims to people born with head and neck deformities, or tumour and cancer patients.

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