World’s first Successful skull-scalp transplant done



James Boysen, a 55-year-old software developer’s cancer left him with a large head wound.  A 15-hour operation was performed by nearly a dozen surgeons with 40 other medics on 22-May-15 to give him the world’s first scalp and partial skull transplant.

U.S. doctors said that they used “tools like a jeweller to make a fine Swiss watch” to accomplish the surgery.

He received the scalp and skull grafts by this surgery. He was also operated at the same time for his kidney and pancreas transplantation at Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas.

 Mr Boysen was given a 25x25cm cap-shaped skull graft and a 38cm-wide scalp graft beginning above his forehead till to the top of his head. It ends 2.5cm above one ear and 5 cm above the other ear.

 Extremely delicate work was required to remove and replace a large part of the skull and re-establish a blood supply to keep the transplant viable.

Highlights of the surgery :

  • The surgery is said to be the first skull-scalp transplant from a human donor, as against an artificial implant,
  • Mr Boysen was stunned to know how well doctors matched him to a donor with similar skin and hair colour,
  • Dr. Michael Klebuc, who led the plastic surgery team had to connect small blood vessels about one-sixteenth of an inch thick,
  • Surgery is done under an operating microscope with little stitches about half the thickness of a human hair, using tools like a jeweller would use to make a fine Swiss watch.