The windpipe was taken from a dead man and implanted in her forearm where her own tissue grew around the cartilage scaffold. When the organ came to be transplanted to her throat, her body did not consider it foreign and accepted it.
It is thought to be the first time an organ as large as a windpipe has been implanted into the recipient's body to develop before the final transplant.
Ms de Croock did not have to take anti-rejection drugs, which meant she was not at risk of complications such as a higher likelihood of cancer.
Dr. Delaere waited a year after the successful surgery before reporting on it to the New England Journal of Medicine. They hope this technique will help other transplant patients live without anti-rejection drugs. Link -via Discover Magazine
(image credit: AP)