Woman burned with lye gets face transplant at Boston hospital

Dr. Bodhan Pomahac, at podium, with his surgical team, speaks to reporters regarding the face transplant of Carmen Blandin Tarleton, pictured left, at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Tarleton underwent the surgery earlier this month. The 44-year-old Tarleton,of Thetford, Vt., was attacked by her former husband in 2007; he doused her with industrial strength lye. AP

BOSTONCarmen Blandin Tarleton, a Vermont woman whose face was disfigured after her estranged husband doused her with industrial strength lye, has received a face transplant.

Doctors at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston say 44-year-old Tarleton underwent the surgery earlier this month. A team worked 15 hours to transplant the facial skin, including the neck, nose, lips, facial muscles, arteries and nerves.

The Thetford, Vt. woman was attacked by her former husband in 2007. She suffered chemical burns over 80 percent of her body. The mother of two wrote a book about her experience that describes her recovery.

It was the fifth face transplant at the Boston hospital.

Physicians are planning to discuss the case Wednesday at the hospital.

Dallas Wiens, a 26-year-old Texas man who accidentally struck a power line when painting a church received the country's first full face transplant in March, 2011 at BWH. Less than a month later, BWH surgeons performed a full face transplant on 30-year-old Mitch Hunterof Indiana, who was disfigured after an auto accident. ThenCharla Nash,who made headlines when her neighbor's chimpanzee mauled her in 2009, underwent the procedure in May of 2011.

In April 2009, Brigham and Women's Hospital surgeons performed a partial face transplant on James Maki, a man who had fallen onto the electrified third rail of the Boston subway when he was 55, leaving him with severe burns, according to the hospital. At the time, it old only the second such procedure to be performed in the United States and seventh in the world.

BWH has more information on its face transplant surgeries.

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