New nose grown on forehead
Doctors in China have grown a replacement nose on the forehead of a man injured in a car accident.
The 22 year old crash victim's own nose was destroyed by infection, which set in after the man was injured last year.
The infection eroded the cartilage that provides the nose with its shape and contour, leaving the man badly disfigured.
To remedy this, doctors in China's Fujian province inserted a nose-shaped template beneath the skin on one side of the patient's forehead, alongside cartilage harvested from his ribcage.
The result is a replacement nose covered with facial-type skin and with a good nerve and a blood supply that is already plumbed in from the forehead.
Once the skin on the forehead has stretched and grown sufficiently, the new nose can be partially cut away and rotated down, still connected to its blood supply, into the correct position in the centre of the patient's face.
Meanwhile, the skin of the forehead will be brought back together and cleanly sutured in place.
The procedure isn't without risk, since if infection sets in again it could destroy the new cartilage. But the presence of a good blood supply and antibiotic cover should minimise the chances of this happening.
And, because the new nose has patent airways, and the nerves which supply the sense of smell are at the bridge of the nose and, as far as we know, have not been affected by the patient's injuries, then there is every chance of the patient having an excellent cosmetic and functional outcome...