World famous for his ground-breaking operations in Turkish medical history Prof. Dr. Omer Ozkan, academician and surgeon at Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Department at the Akdeniz University Hospital in Turkey's southern province of Antalya said they have upgraded from "infancy" to "experienced."
Performing a double arm transplant, the world's first ever womb transplant from cadaver, and three of the world's five face transplant surgeries in Turkey, Ozkan commented to AA in an exclusive on Turkey's recent success in the field.
Face transplant surgery, he noted, once regarded as a sci-fi, was first performed in early 2000s as an experiment which was attended also by Turkish doctors.
Ozkan stated that the first clinical face transplant was performed in France in 2005 and followed by United States, China and Turkey.
Following his first double arm transplant surgery on Cihan Topal in 2010, he told that he performed Turkish medicine's first ever face transplant surgery in which he transferred the face of the brain dead Ahmet Kaya who committed a suicide on January 21, 2012 to 19-year-old Ugur Acar whose face was almost completely seared by a burning blanket when he was a baby.
Ozkan, stressing that he also performed the fourth and fifth face transplant operations in Turkey, said "We have upgraded from "infancy" to "experienced."
Mentioning Turkey, France, US and Spain as the leading countries in face transplant in the world, he said "There have been 25 operations in the world while Turkey has performed 5. The top-ranking country is France which is followed by Turkey. The face transplantation surgeries performed in Turkey has drawn wide appreciation."
"What is important in such operation is making the patients gain their self-confidence and the support and reactions you receive. We have received positive reaction which please us," he added.
As a plastic and esthetics surgeon, Ozkan highlighted that he realized his dreams. "We have made our dreams come true. We have outpaced the current trend in the world."
He also noted that there are some foreign surgeons who have requested for attending the operations, which made him proud as all eyes turned to Turkey with the consecutive successful operations.
Prof. Dr. Omer Ozkan of Akdeniz University Hospital and his team performed on Thursday a full face transplantation along with a chin transplantation on Turkish patient Sert who lost his left eye and chin in a shotgun accident.
During Turkey's 5th face transplant surgery in Antalya, the face and chin of the Polish tourist Andrej Kucza were successfully transferred to 27-year-old Turkish patient Recep Sert.
27-year-old Recep Sert, a chef living in Izmir, was wounded by the buckshots fired from the shotgun he was cleaning back in 2007. In the accident, he lost 12 of his teeth, his left eye and most of his chin. Seriously injuring also his nose, Sert since that time has undergone multiple life-saving and reconstructive surgeries and applied to Akdeniz University Hospital in 2012 for a face transplant.
Turkey's Face Transplant History
Turkey's face transplant adventure began when the family of Ahmet Kaya who committed a suicide on January 21, 2012 donated his face. The face removed from Kaya was transplanted to 19-year-old Ugur Acar whose face was almost completely seared by a burning blanket when he was only 40 days old. The successful operation, a first in Turkish plastic surgery history, put Prof. Dr. Omer Ozkan and his team in the spotlight of the international and Turkish media.
The second face transplant surgery of Turkey was performed at Ankara's Hacettepe University on Cengiz Gul while the third one occurred in Ankara on March 17, 2012 at Gazi University Faculty of Medicine with a partial face transplantation operation on 20-year-old Hatice Nergis.
Turkey's fourth face transplant surgery was performed again by Prof. Omer Ozkan at Akdeniz University Hospital in which the face of 19-year-old Tevfik Yilmaz was transplanted to 34-year-old Turan Colak.