French Doctors Perform World's Third Partial Face Transplant

French doctors have performed a partial face transplant on a 27-year-old man, giving him a new nose, mouth and chin and replacing part of his cheeks, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The 15-hour operation was the world's third partial face transplant.

The patient suffered from a genetic condition known as neurofibromatosis, which causes tumors to grow on nerve tissue throughout the body, Le Parisien newspaper reported. The condition is similar to the disorder that affected Joseph Merrick, the man who was depicted as "The Elephant Man" in the theater and on screen.

The operation was carried out at Henri-Mondor hospital in the Paris suburb of Creteil by Dr. Laurent Lantieri, the report said. The Paris hospital system said it could not immediately confirm the report, though it said it planned to release details later in the day.

The operation comes a year after a Frenchwoman, Isabelle Dinoire, received the world's first partial face transplant after being mauled by her dog. Since that surgery, a Chinese farmer also received a partial face transplant after he was badly disfigured in a bear attack.

The latest procedure is different because the patient was disfigured by a genetic condition, not an accident.

Dr. Lantieri was a critic of the French team that carried out the first partial face transplant. Lantieri, an adviser to the French medical ethics panel, said Dinoire's surgeons violated the panel's advice because they failed to try reconstructive surgery first.

On the one-year anniversary of Dinoire's procedure in November, doctors said her operation was a success and that she is gaining more sensitivity and facial mobility.

Doctors in Britain and the United States are also working toward similar procedures.

In October, an ethics panel approved plans by surgeons at the Royal Free Hospital in London to carry out what could be the world's first full-face transplant, though it said no patients had been selected yet. The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio is also working on plans for full-face transplants.