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Samir Mardini, M.D., Director, Face Transplant; Surgical Director, Essam and Dalal Obaid Center for Reconstructive Transplant Surgery, Mayo Clinic: The face is the first part that we're focused on when we're interacting. Someone's face, based on their facial movements, tells us who they are, tells us how caring they are.

Steven Moran, M.D., Director, Hand Transplant; Surgical Director, Essam and Dalal Obaid Center for Reconstructive Transplant Surgery, Mayo Clinic: Shaking someone's hand. Hugging someone. We interact with others with our hands. But it really serves as a way of getting to know people.

Dr. Mardini: The Essam and Dalal Obaid Center for Reconstructive Transplant Surgery is dedicated to the care of patients that have deformed faces and they're missing their arms and hands. And in those patients, they don't have a chance to live a normal life. And the idea behind having this center is to try to bring these patients to a point where they can live normal lives.

Dr. Moran: Well, the common thread is restorative surgery. We're trying to make people whole again.

Dr. Mardini: At Mayo Clinic, the patient will be evaluated by a full team of subspecialists. They're all experts, world-renowned leaders in their fields of subspecialty.

Brooks Edwards, M.D., Director, William J. von Liebig Center for Transplantation and Clinical Regeneration, Mayo Clinic: And when the hand and face transplant team gets together, there's about 45 people in the room.

Dr. Moran: What really separates us is the fact that we have a really integrated team. You'll be seeing not only the surgeon and the medical director, but they'd also be seeing a psychiatrist, a nutritionist, a therapist -- which plays a big role following surgery.

Dr. Mardini: All of these people together will come up with what they think, and we think, is best for each patient, individually.

Dr. Moran: Every person on the team is an authority in their area, so you're really getting cutting edge therapy.

Dr. Mardini: The focus of my practice has been reconstructing faces. This new field of face transplantation where you can actually restore someone's face, not just reconstruct it but actually restore it to something close to normal, can really benefit them.

Dr. Moran: We were the first program in the country to have hand transplant approved as part of the regular decision-making process for someone that comes in with a hand injury.

Dr. Mardini: The procedure is a culmination of multiple other procedures together and all of them are procedures that we do in current clinical practice.

Dr. Moran: This is not an experimental program or a program that's run through a research protocol. This is part of our clinical stepwise progression in hand reconstruction.

Dr. Edwards: The surgeons at Mayo Clinic have that very rare talent. They have the eye for the aesthetics. They have the hands for the technique. And they have the judgment to bring it all together for the care of that patient.

Dr. Mardini: We want to have these patients function normally. We want them to have normal speech, normal swallowing, normal facial movement and we want them to integrate back into society and live normal lives.

Dr. Moran: We want them to regain sensation and feeling in their hands, to be able to make a fist, to be able to hold objects, to be able to perform fine tasks with their fingers.

Dr. Mardini:Offering this opportunity to get back to normal is really something remarkable.

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Nov. 07, 2023