advertisement
Updated 30 November 2017

World first: Skin from twin saves man with 95% burns

A man on the verge of death was rescued by his twin brother in a breakthrough skin transplant.

0

A man who had suffered burns over 95% of his body, putting him on the verge of death, was saved by a skin transplant from his identical twin in a world-first operation, French doctors said.

The 33-year-old man, identified only as Franck, received skin grafted from his brother Eric's skull, back and thighs.

Less risk of rejection 

Receiving a transplant from a genetically identical twin eliminates the risk of seeing the recipient's body reject "foreign" material from an unrelated donor.

Usually in burn cases, the skin of a deceased donor is used, and the donor skin is typically rejected within weeks.

That is usually enough time for new skin to start growing or to be harvested from elsewhere on the patient's body.

Twin-on-twin skin transplants have been done before, but this was the first to cover such a large surface area, said Maurice Mimoun, a surgeon at the Saint-Louis Hospital in Paris, where the procedure was done.

Severe case

The previous record for such transplants involved a case where about 68% of the victim's body was burned.

Franck was admitted to hospital in September last year after being burned in a work accident, and the first graft from his twin was done a week later, followed by about a dozen procedures.

Four-and-a-half months after his admission, Franck left hospital for a rehabilitation centre.

“It doesn’t hurt any more,” Franck said, noting that he had recently stopped taking painkillers.

"Today he is at home with his partner; he can get on with his activities, his face has healed well," Mimoun told AFP.

The skin's epidermis, tough and water-resistant, protects the body from dehydration, injury and infection.

Image credit: iStock

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X

More:

News
advertisement

Live healthier

Terrific Tea! »

Rooibos makes cocktails healthier Rooibos: an alternative energy drink

More than 10 reasons why rooibos is good for you

Today marks the first annual National Rooibos Day, which aims to raise awareness of the health benefits and many uses of rooibos tea.

Healthy? Are you sure? »

5 diseases we can get from animals Could your salon visit make you sick?

7 terrifying diseases you could have without knowing it

Not all serious illnesses come with tell-tale symptoms. There are diseases that can turn your body into a ticking time-bomb while you're unaware of any danger.