Surgeons in France have carried out the world’s first face transplant on a tumour sufferer.
These pictures reveal the amazing transformation of Pascal Coler – a modern-day Elephant Man.
Mr Coler’s face had been horribly disfigured by Von Recklinghausen’s disease, a rare genetic disorder.
But a team of French surgeons, headed by Professor Laurent Lantieri, gave him a new lease on life.
The controversial operation, which involved replacing Mr Coler’s face with that of a dead donor, took 16 hours, the News of the World reported.
In the operation, tissues, nerves, arteries and veins were all attached to the patient’s face.
In 2005, the first partial face transplant was performed on a French woman mauled by a dog.
Mr Coler described the day of his surgery as the happiest of his life.
“The operation has revolutionised my life. I can live as a normal human being for the first time,” he told the newspaper.
“People in the street look at me very differently. They no longer stop and stare or shout cruel words.
“Instead I am accepted. I even dream of myself in my new face and now I would love to find a wife, settle down and have children.”
A year after the surgery, Mr Coler is now free of the disease that at the age of six saw tumours begin to grow on his face.
He is now looking forward to starting work as an accountant and taking up tennis and basketball.