A team of doctors in Poland has successfully done a rare throat transplant on a 37-year-old cancer patient. The surgery involved procedures to fix his windpipe, esophagus, thyroid glands, voice box and the adjacent muscles, skin and blood vessels, according to the Associated Press.
The surgery was led by Dr. Adam Maciejewski and performed on April 17. It was an extensive procedure that took 17 hours to complete. The patient, named Michal, who reportedly couldn't do simple activities like breathing, speaking or swallowing before the procedure, is now recovering at the Oncology Center in Gliwice. He was able to thank his doctors in a soft voice after the operation.
Michal is now reportedly able to eat mashed foods and swallow liquids slowly. The team of doctors is closely monitoring his progress in case of a rejection or infection. If everything goes well, Michal is expected to make a full recovery.
Michal has also appeared before the press in Poland, but he can only whisper when speaking. He had also wanted to express his gratitude for his transplant donor, which the doctors received on April 11, according to the Inquisitor.
This isn't the first transplant that Michal had undergone. In 2001, he had a kidney transplant and was still trying to recover from it when he was diagnosed with throat cancer. After a series of other operations to remove the cancer, Michal started receiving chemotherapy. But his new kidneys rejected the medications. The Polish doctors thus decided he would be the best candidate for the throat transplant. They believed this would improve his quality of life.
Dr. Maciejewski and the team at the Gliwice Center previously completed a successful face transplant back in May 2013. Aside from years of preparation, the procedure took 27 hours to finish, according to the Daily Mail. The patient is now enjoying a normal life.