Prof. Maria Siemionow

Outstanding surgeon, transplantologist and the author of the first in the United States and fourth in the world successful face transplant.

Born on 27 May 1950. A graduate of the Poznań University of Medical Sciences, she currently lives in the United States, where she has been the Director of Plastic Surgery Research and the Head of Microsurgery Training at the Cleveland Clinic since 1995. It is one of the five largest and most prominent hospitals in the USA.

During her scholarship at the US Christine Kleinert Institute in Louisville, Kentucky, from 1985 Professor Siemionow focused on reconstructive hand surgery. Dealing with children who had burnt hands, she noticed that many of them also had damaged faces because when they wanted to protect themselves, they instinctively hid them in their hands. That is why the reconstructive face surgery has become her next objective.

In 2008, a team of doctors led by her in a 22-hour surgery performed a transplantation of 80 percent of face surface on a woman who suffered from a shot. It was the most comprehensive face transplantation to date, requiring connecting numerous bones, muscles, nerves and blood vessels. The patient received the upper jaw, the upper lip, cheeks, the nose and the lower lid, which enabled her to breath, speak and eat on her own, as well as to regain the sense of taste and smell.

Professor Maria Siemionow has received the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland. She has also been awarded with an honorary degree of the Poznań University of Medical Sciences.