UK Face Transplant

News | Dardis McNamee | November 2006

London’s Royal Free Hospital is now seeking suitable patients for the first full face transplant in history. Such an operation would involve removing fat, blood vessels, arteries and veins from the donor and then reconnecting them to the recipient.

However, this does not mean they will look like the donor as the recipient has a different bone structure. Tissue rejection and psychological issues are among the main concerns for choosing a potential recipient. The people who will be considered for the operation must do so as a last resort, after they have undergone between 50 to 70 reconstructive surgeries. A woman in France had the operation a year ago, but it was only a partial face transplant.

The Local Ethics Research Committee at the hospital has not given the official go-ahead.   The Royal College of Surgeons of England said it would press the hospital’s trust board not to allow any transplant unless "the minimal requirements that we set can be met."

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