A Chinese man whose nose was damaged by infection is receiving groundbreaking treatment by his doctors, who are "growing" a second one on his forehead.
The 22-year-old patient, identified only as Xiaolian, had his nose damaged permanently from an infection he suffered following a car accident.
His doctors decided the only way to reconstruct his nose was to surgically form a new one on his forehead, where it will match the tissue of his face.
Tissue expanders were placed under the skin and then cut to resemble a nose. According to news reports, doctors expect to implant the new nose soon.
Forehead skin is used to help reform noses because it is the closest match to skin on the nose. However, usually the nose is reformed during surgery.
Dr. Patrick Byrne, the director of Facial, Plastic and Reconstruction Surgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, said this was likely an extreme case.
“My guess would be they felt that the tissue in the nose was so damaged they had to use the forehead skin on the interior part of the nose,” said Byrne.
“It’ll be a real nose and [have a] breathing passage way.”
When the nose is transplanted, cartilage from Xiaolian’s rib will be used to give the nose added structure, which will be vulnerable for 18 months afterward.
“There’s a lot that can happen,” said Byrne. “If he gets a little infection the cartilage can disintegrate… [what looked like a nose] now looks like a blob.”
However Byrne said as long as Xiaolian is able to avoid any additional complications, his new nose should work nearly as well as his original nose.
“He should be able to smell, the smell receptors are pretty high in the nose,” said Byrne.