Austin man is the recipient of the world's first partial skull and scalp treatment

Texas doctors say they completed the world's first partial skull and scalp transplant.

It was to help an Austin man with a large head wound from cancer treatment.

Doctors from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Houston Methodist Hospital announced that they did the operation on May 22nd.

The recipient is 55-year-old Jim Boysen, a Software Developer in Austin.

Doctors say radiation treatments for a rare cancer left him with an open wound in his head that would not heal.

Boysen had a kidney-pancreas transplant back in 1992 and developed a rare type of cancer.

Radiation therapy destroyed part of his head and the immune suppression drugs he was on from the transplant kept his body from healing.

Then his transplanted organs were starting to fail.

So along with the new scalp and skull, he received a new pancreas and kidney as well.

"They did an excellent job and I'm still kind of in awe that I'm up and walking after two weeks. And I think some of them are kind of shocked (laughs)," Boysen said.

Surgeons say they too were caught up the magic of it all.

"This was a very amazing and exciting moment was during the operation when we removed little clamps and let the blood start to flow into the tissue for the very first time. Because you saw something that was gray and lifeless come back to life in front of your eyes and turn into something pink healthy and vibrant and that was really miraculous and exciting," said Michael Klebuc, M.D. at Houston Methodist Hospital.

Boysen is expecting to leave the hospital Thursday with a new kidney and pancreas along with the scalp and skull grafts.

Last year doctors in the Netherlands said they replaced most of a woman's skull with a 3-D printed plastic one.

The Texas operation is thought to be the first skull-scalp transplant from a human donor.


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