Real nose grown on woman’s arm was transplanted to her face

A woman in France grew a nose on her arm to prepare for a transplant after losing a large portion of her own during treatment for cancer.

In 2013, the patient from Toulouse, France, was treated for nasal cavity cancer with radiotherapy and chemotherapy, eventually losing part of her nose. For years, she’s lived without it, despite reconstruction attempts and prosthetics failures.

But now, thanks to emerging medical technologies, she is able to get a new nose — one that she grew herself.

A custom nose, made from 3D-printed biomaterial to replace cartilage, was made for her and then implanted on her forearm.

Using a skin graft from her temple to cover the replacement nose, the appendage grew on her arm for two months before being transplanted to her face.

In September, ear, nose and throat (ENT) and cervico-facial surgeons used microsurgery to connect blood vessels in the arm to vessels in the face and successfully transplanted the nose. The groundbreaking procedure turned out to be a success, thanks to the teams at the Toulouse University Hospital and the Claudius Regaud Institute.

“After 10 days of hospitalization and three weeks of antibiotics, the patient is doing very well,” medics told the Evening Standard.

“This type of reconstruction had never before been performed on such a fragile and poorly vascularised area and was made possible thanks to the collaboration of the medical teams with the company Cerhum, a Belgian manufacturer of medical devices specializing in bone reconstruction,” the hospital said. “This new technique also makes it possible to overcome certain limitations presented by other techniques.”

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