Key blood vessels
Though it may seem like a patient might prefer to grow a new nose on a different part of the body that could be more inconspicuous, there are good reasons to use forehead skin.
"Skin that comes from another area of the face will most resemble the skin of the nose, as opposed to skin that came from another body part," Cangello said.
The forehead also has blood vessels that nourish the tissue transplant, so the surgeons don't have to disconnect and reconnect those vessels to place the nose in its correct position. If the doctors were to grow the nose on a forearm or a leg, for instance, they would have to undertake a laborious microsurgery to take the blood vessels that feed and drain the transplant.
The man still seems to have a nose that, at least in pictures, looks fairly normal. By contrast, his replacement nose is pretty large.
But the new nose should shrink once it's in place, Cangello added.
It's also possible the researchers needed to replace the man's current nose because he had trouble breathing properly.
"Whenever we perform a reconstruction, there are two things in mind," Cangello said. "It's not just form, but it's also function."
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