Transplant patient Jim Boysen
Skull and scalp transplant recipient James Boysen at Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston

Mayra Beltran / Houston Chronicle

Texas doctors have performed the world's first partial skull and scalp transplant on a man who had a large head wound from cancer radiation treatment. The 55-year-old software developer also received a new kidney and pancreas.

Doctors at MD Anderson Cancer Center and Houston Methodist Hospital announced on 4 June that they performed the operation on Jim Boysen on 22 May. The man from Austin is expected to leave the hospital on Thursday (4 June), according to NBC News.

"It's kind of shocking, really, how good they got it," Boysen joked with The Associated Press. "I will have way more hair than when I was 21."

According to NBC News, doctors in the Netherlands performed a 3-D printed plastic skull replacement on a woman last year. However, this latest operation is believed to be the first skull and scalp transplant from a human donor.

In 1992, Boysen had kidney-pancreas transplant to treat diabetes and was put on drugs to prevent organ rejection, NBC News reported. Those drugs raised his risk of cancer, leading him to develop a rare cancer—leiomyosarcoma. Boysen's cancer affected the smooth muscles under the scalp.

Boysen's immune suppression drugs prevented his body from repairing the wound, and meanwhile his transplanted organs began to fail.

Doctors chose not to operate on Boysen while his wound remained open, until Dr Jesse Selber thought of transplanting a new partial skull and scalp, as well as his give him new organs. It took 18 months for LifeGift to organise the organ procurement.

The operation, which took 15 hours, involved nearly a dozen doctors and 40 other health workers, according to NBC News. After the head transplant, doctors performed the pancreas and kidney transplants.

"This has been a long journey, and I am so grateful to all the doctors who performed my transplant," Boysen said in a statement. "I'm amazed at how great I feel and am forever grateful that I have another chance to get back to doing the things I love and be with the people I love."