Presidential Speaker

Transforming the Face of Reconstructive Surgery

 Eduardo D. Rodriguez, MD, DDS

Experience gained in the treatment of complex congenital and acquired facial deformity has provided a unique platform for advancing the field of facial reconstruction. Fundamental principles of aesthetic, craniofacial, and microsurgery have also blended together to improve the quality of life for our patients. Additionally, innovative technologies including the combination of computer-assisted planning and intraoperative navigation has provided innovative solutions to previously unpredictable problems. The advance of medicine and dentistry has allowed facial transplantation to become a clinical reality; however, immunotherapy remains one of the leading obstacles to its widespread acceptance. The creation of a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary team provides the avenue for the restoration of human appearance and function for individuals with devastating composite facial disfigurement.

1. Define the current state of facial reconstruction
2. Describe the role and indications for facial transplantation
3. Define the requirements for creating a comprehensive and innovative facial transplant program

Dr. Rodriguez was born and raised in Miami, FL, the son of Cuban immigrants. He earned his B.S. in Neurobiology from the University of Florida in 1988, followed by a DDS degree from New York University in 1992. He completed his residency in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1997. He then went on to earn his MD from the Medical College of Virginia in 1999, then completed general surgery training at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 2001 and then a combined plastic surgery program at Johns Hopkins Hospital/University of Maryland Medical Center in 2003. He also completed an International Reconstructive Microsurgery Fellowship at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taipei, Taiwan in 2004. He is dually boarded by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

An internationally recognized leader in plastic and reconstructive surgery, Dr. Rodriguez joined the NYU Langone faculty in November 2013 as the Helen L. Kimmel Professor of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and chair of the HansjÓ§rg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery. Dr. Rodriguez joined NYU Langone from the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of Maryland School of Medicine/R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center where he was Chief of the Division of Plastic, Reconstructive & Craniofacial Surgery and Professor of Surgery.

Dr. Rodriguez also leads NYU Langone’s vascular composite allotransplantation (VCA) program, which encompasses face and limb transplantation. He and his team performed NYU Langone’s first face transplant in August 2015 on Patrick Hardison, a firefighter from Senatobia, MS, who was severely burned in September 2001 in the line of duty. This case is widely recognized as the most extensive procedure of its kind to date – and the first performed in New York State.