“The world has seen two similar surgeries before, but this operation was the most extensive,” said Adam Maciejewski, head of the transplant team in the southern city of Gliwice, according to Polish news agency PAP.
The team performed the surgery on a 37-year-old Pole, identified only as Michal, who had been suffering from advanced cancer of the voice box.
The April 11 operation took 17 hours and involved a transplant of the larynx, windpipe, throat, oesophagus, thyroid, muscles and skin.
“Thank you all for everything,” Michal said at the press conference, his voice a whisper because he still had trouble speaking.
But he is recovering well, according to Maciejewski.
“We were surprised by how quickly he began to breathe and talk. We even had to stop him,” he said.
There is a long road of rehabilitation ahead of Michal so that he can “speak normally, eat and breathe like all the rest of us”, Maciejewski added.
The same transplant team also scored a success in 2013, when it carried out the world’s first life-saving face transplant on a Polish man maimed on the job at a stonemason’s workshop- AFP