'Man With Three Faces' Becomes First Ever Patient to Receive Two Face Transplants

Jérôme Hamon is the first person to have received two face transplants. Just three months out of surgery, the 43-year-old Frenchman reported feeling well and said he is eager to leave the hospital and return home.

Hamon has neurofibromatosis type one, a genetic condition that causes severely disfiguring tumors on his face, The Telegraph reported. He received his first face transplant in 2010 but last November, an antibiotic Hamon received to treat a cold had an adverse interaction with his immunosuppressant medications. As a result, his body began to reject his transplanted face.

Following the rejection, Hamon had the original face transplant removed. He then remained in the hospital without a face for two months awaiting a new donation. Without a face, he was unable to see, speak or hear, BBC News reported.

Related: Face Transplant: Widow Meets The man Who Received Face From Her Dead Husband

In January, a new face donor was found and a second procedure carried out. The lead surgeon was Prof Laurent Lantieri, a face transplant specialist who carried out Hamon's first surgery in 2010.

Dubbed "the man with three faces" by French media, Hamon became the first person to have three separate faces throughout his lifetime, his birth face, plus two donations. The patient is in good spirits following the operation, and has joked about his rare status.

French medicine professor Laurent Lantieri, a specialist in hand and face transplant, poses next to a screen showing different steps of his patient Jerome Hamon's surgery on April 13, 2018 at the Hopital Europeen Georges-Pompidou in Paris. Phillippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

"I'm 43 and the donor was 22 so I'm 22 again," he told French TV, The BBC reported.

The first face transplant was conducted on Isabelle Dinoire, also of France, in 2005, The BBC reported. Dinoire's face was horribly disfigured by a pet dog. Since Dinoire, there have been at least 37 face transplants recorded around the world, with the latest measurements taken in December 2015.

Related: Before And After: Both Sides Of Face Transplant Surgery

Like Hamon, a major problem with transplants is the threat of the body rejecting the new organ. Our immune systems works to protect our bodies from foreign entities. For this reason, the immune system will often confuse the cells of a newly transplanted body part as harmful, and attack them as they would a virus or bacteria.

In order to prevent organ rejection, doctors will try to closely match the immune system of transplant patients with donors who are closely matched to them. In addition, a transplant patient may take immunosuppressant medications to suppress the immune system and prevent it from attacking the new organ.

So far, Hamon's operation is a success, and the historic procedure shows just how far face transplants have advanced in a little over a decade.

"Today, we know that a double transplant is feasible, it's no longer in the field of research," Lantieri told Le Parisien newspaper.