A man with severe burns was saved by skin grafts from his twin

Publié le 6 Dec, 2017

A 33 year-old man with third degree burns covering virtually all of his body has been saved thanks to skin grafts from his twin brother. He was treated at the Saint Louis Hospital burns unit by teams led by Professor Mimoun (plastic and reconstructive surgery) and Professor Alexandre Mebazaa (anaesthesia-ICU). This is a new and “inspiring outcome”, according to Jean-Yves Nau, journalist and doctor of medicine.


The victim of an occupational accident in September 2016, the young man was admitted to hospital in a critical condition: “His chances of survival were virtually non-existent”. His twin brother quickly agreed to donate skin for grafts. As they are homozygous twins, they have an identical genetic capital and the grafted skin will not be rejected: “the patient will live with skin grafts from his brother and will never require any immunosuppressant therapy”. As the harvesting of organs and tissues from live donors [1] is subject to authorisation by the Biomedicines Agency, the latter therefore heard the case presented by the twin brother and gave its consent. Three procedures were carried out. On each occasion, the two brothers underwent surgery at the same time in order for the skin to be transferred immediately.


“Today’s procedure ensures the success of this spectacular undertaking”: the patient is undergoing rehabilitation, he can walk again and has returned home. As far as Professor Mimmoun is concerned, “the process is exceptional [a burns victim does not always have a twin], but it has led to extraordinary observations” which will have repercussions for all major burns victims. “We have clearly shown that if we had a universal skin, we would be able to save severe burns victims using precise surgical techniques and resuscitation,”he declared.


[1] “With major burns victims, deceased donor skin is conventionally used but is systematically rejected after a few weeks and must be replaced”.

Le Figaro santé, Frédéric Picard (23/11/2017); Jean-Yves Nau (23/11/2017)

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