"Our face is an important part of our identity."
It allows us to interact with the world around us but also carries out many vital functions. The eyelids protect our vision; the nose allows us to breathe and smell; our lips and mouth allows us to speak, eat, and drink. The composition of these distinct units creates the face and even small disturbances are picked up by the naked eye.
When larger disturbances occur, such as from trauma or cancer removal, the results can be devastating from a functional and aesthetic standpoint which can lead to social isolation and the loss of self. That is why much effort has been dedicated to the field of facial and head and neck reconstruction to help restore the form and function of the face through advance surgical procedures.
There is still much to learn about this revolutionary procedure and with more and more patients undergoing this experimental, yet life-altering procedure our knowledge continues to grow. Research is ongoing into how to detect signs of rejection earlier so that intervention can be instituted before the rejection is irreversible.Learn More About Face Transplants
What is a Face Transplant?
While some advocate facial transplantation only when other options are not available, it can be argued that if it is the best option, then it should be considered first. Primary face transplant may decrease the number of total operations, blood transfusions, and social consequences that would be expected from conventional reconstructive options.
Research Behind Face Transplants
With any procedure, all the risks, benefits, and alternatives are discussed thoroughly between the treating physician and patient. This is called the informed consent process. With regards to face transplantation, however, the informed consent process is less well defined as it is an experimental procedure. There are still many unknowns with regards to the benefits, long term outcomes, immediate and long term risks from the procedure and life-long immunosuppression.
Am I a Candidate for a Face Transplant?
Indications for facial transplantation continues to evolves as experience grows within the scientific community. In general, patients are considered candidates when the severe facial defect and functional deficits cannot be helped with conventional reconstructive techniques.