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Turkish doctor completes world's third full face transplant surgery

Turkeys leading private health care group—and the second largest health care group in the world through its partnership with IHH Berhard—Aci...

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|Apr 23|magazine9 min read

Turkey’s leading private health care group—and the second largest health care group in the world through its partnership with IHH Berhard—Acibadem Healthcare held a public seminar with one of its leading surgeons, Assoc. Prof. Mehmet Veli Karaaltin, specializing in plastic, aesthetic and reconstructive surgery, in London recently. 

Assoc. Prof. Karaaltin was among a team of surgeons successfully performing the world’s third full face transplant surgery and is well-recognized for his pioneering methods in the field that include a breakthrough method for facial paralysis that involves transferring a small muscle on the foot that functions similarly to the movement and tissue on the face and the world’s first lymph node transfer to the inguinal region.

World Firsts from Acibadem

One of Assoc. Prof. Karaaltin’s most outstanding successes is the world’s first special method he developed for operating on facial paralysis patients. Transferring a small muscle on the foot that functions similarly to the movement and tissue on the face, the procedure achieves with one surgery the results achieved in two surgeries previously. 

Commenting on the success of his method, Assoc. Prof. Karaaltin said: “We have performed this surgery on five patients so far and the results have been very successful. We have managed to achieve symmetry in eye, lip and nose movement. Our patients’ facial mimics become visible over the course of 4-5 weeks following the surgery through further physical therapy and acupuncture. The use of this foot muscle is a method first of its kind in the world. We now solely use this method for our facial paralysis patients and witness them make a faster return to their social lives.”

The procedure—that is performed on patients who develop facial paralysis at birth, following brain surgery or through an injury—has been attracting patients from all over the world to Acibadem hospitals.

Assoc. Prof. Karaaltin is also the first surgeon in the world to perform a lymph node transfer from the neck to the inguinal region and is among a team of surgeons successfully performing the world’s third full face transplant surgery.

Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery

In the field of plastic and aesthetic surgery, Acibadem’s Assoc. Prof. Karaaltin also performs the advanced ultrasound liposuction method VASER that minimises bleeding and achieves the same results as a traditional liposuction through this less intrusive surgery option. Acibadem’s team of experts use the latest technology available, taking a 3D scan of the patient prior to surgery and calculating the changes to be made to more accurately perform the necessary changes at the operating table.

Treating Patients from Conflict Zones

Assoc. Prof. Karaaltin also works extensively with patients in the conflict zone arriving at Acibadem Hospitals from nearby countries through bilateral government agreements, having successfully treated many patients who have had severe trauma. Assoc. Prof. Karaaltin emphasized that working on such cases provides an immense learning experience and allows the team of surgeons at Acibadem hospitals to further increase their levels of expertise.

Turkey’s leading private healthcare provider, Acibadem Hospitals Group has highly-experienced specialist surgeons performing outstanding work in their fields.

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