SGK to pay TL 53,000 for Turkey’s first face transplant

March 30, 2012, Friday/ 17:52:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

The Social Security Institution (SGK) announced on Friday that it had determined the package cost for a face transplant to be TL 42,000 and promised to pay TL 53,000 to Akdeniz University to cover Turkey's first face transplant, which took place in January.

In a press conference held on Friday, SGK Chairman Fatih Acar said a pricing commission determined the TL 42,000 package cost for medical expenses connected with a face transplant including medical materials, medicines and 15 days of postoperative intensive care services. The institution will also cover treatment expenses of the following recovery period, Acar said, but it will be set apart from the standard package price.

Professor Ömer Özkan and his team from Akdeniz University performed Turkey's first full-face transplant in January. In February the Ankara-based Hacettepe University School of Medicine Hospital successfully performed Turkey's second full-face transplant surgery on a 25-year-old patient, who had lost 70 percent of his face when he was only two years old.

While Akdeniz University established its package cost at TL 53,000, the SGK has not yet been informed of the cost by Hacettepe University or Gazi University (which performed the country's third such operation), Acar added. “When we consider that a face transplant recipient receives nearly a two-month-period of treatment, the SGK will pay approximately TL 100,000 in total for each operation,” Acar was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Hatice Nergis, the third Turkish person to receive a face transplant, saw her new face for the first time on March 17 and said she liked it, a statement released by the hospital said on Thursday.

The 20-year-old woman reportedly said she would not have dared to undergo such a difficult operation without great confidence in the team of surgeons. The statement added that the Gazi office has shared pictures of the patient with the press with her consent.

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