A successful face transplant operation performed in Russia earlier this year necessitated serious changes to current Russian health legislation, Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said on Thursday.
“The operation demanded major amendments to our existing legislation, including a special Health Ministry directive,” Skvortsova told reporters during a news conference at the National Defense Center in Moscow.
The Russian military man, who underwent a partial face transplant operation at the Kirov Military Medical Academy in St. Petersburg, warmly thanked the surgeons and said he planned to continue his education.
“Thanks to the operation I am now able to walk out, meet people and feel comfortable,” said the former patient, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The world's first partial face transplant on a living human was carried out in France in 2005. The first full face transplant was completed in Spain in 2010.
A face transplant is a medical procedure to replace all or part of a person's face using tissue from a cadaver.
The Russian Health Ministry is working to make face transplants legal and has issued a decree that will regulate human tissue and make it easier to transplant a face with vessels from a deceased person onto a living patient.
This will open new opportunities for face transplant surgery in Russia.
“We already have a legal groundwork all in place to perform more such operations in the future,” the Russian minister said.