Doctors in a hospital in Houston, Texas performed the first ever skull and scalp transplant on a man who had a large head wound that would not heal.
About a dozen doctors from MD Anderson Cancer Center and Houston Methodist Hospital doctors, assisted by 40 other health workers, carried out the 15-hour operation on Jim Boysen, a 55-year-old software developer from Austin, Texas. Boysen also received a new pancreas and kidney.
Mr. Boysen, who was amazed by the result of the transplant, joked: “It’s kind of shocking, really, how good they got it. I will have way more hair than when I was 21.
He added: “This has been a long journey, and I am so grateful to all the doctors who performed my transplants. I’m amazed at how great I feel and am forever grateful that I have another chance to get back to doing the things I love and be with the people I love.”
In 2006, Boysen was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma, a rare cancer of the smooth muscle on his scalp. The cancer was treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but it left him with a large, deep wound on his head. Part of his skull and scalp were destroyed by radiation, leaving his brain vulnerable.
According to the doctors, in 1992, Boysen, at age five, had kidney-pancreas transplant to treat his diabetes. He was put on an immune suppression drugs to prevent organ rejection. Those drugs increased his risk of cancer, leading him to develop leiomyosarcoma.
The immune suppression drugs prevented his body to repair his head wounds.
Meanwhile, Boysen’s transplanted pancreas and kidney started to fail during the time his cancer was being treated.
The scalp and skull wound were preventing doctors from performing a new double organ transplant on the kidney and pancreas while at the same time their failing prevented his scalp reconstruction, until Dr Jesse Selber, who led the team at MD Anderson Cancer Center, thought of transplanting a new partial skull and scalp, as well as giving him new organs.
Jim Boysen was discharged from the hospital less than two weeks after the surgery.