EDUCATION

Face transplant patient making good progress, doctors say

  • This computerized tomography shows the skull of a 33-year-old Polish man after it was damaged in a work accident, right,  alongside the healthy skull of another person.

    This computerized tomography shows the skull of a 33-year-old Polish man after it was damaged in a work accident, right, alongside the healthy skull of another person.  (AP Photo/Cancer Center and Institute of Oncology in Gliwice)

  • A 33-year-old Polish man whose face was torn off by stone-cutting machinery is shown after undergoing a total face transplant.

    A 33-year-old Polish man whose face was torn off by stone-cutting machinery is shown after undergoing a total face transplant.  (AP Photo/Cancer Center and Institute of Oncology in Gliwice)

WARNING: CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGERY. 

A surgeon who operated on Poland's first face transplant patient says the man is already practicing swallowing and making sounds.

The 33-year-old man received a skin-and-bone transplant on May 15, three weeks after losing his nose, upper jaw and cheeks in a workplace accident. Doctors say it was the world's fastest time frame for such an operation.

Dr. Maciej Grajek said on Monday the man is practicing to swallow liquids, has gotten out of bed a few times this weekend, communicates through writing and can make sounds when his tracheotomy tube - which helps him breathe - is closed for a moment. Grajek called that "very good progress."

The patient remains in isolation to guard against infections.