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Face Transplantation: Changing Faces’ position, Spring 2012

Changing Faces has been involved in the public debate about face transplantation for many years and, in light of recent developments, has decided to review its position.

Introduction

There have now been nearly 20 face transplants worldwide on patients with burns, facial trauma and neurofibromatosis; one has also involved a double hand transplant. Each procedure has been slightly different, some involving only the skin envelope, others soft tissue, cartilage and palate, some cheek bone and nose, and in the latest one, teeth and tongue as well.

All patients except one are surviving and reported to be doing well. Isabelle Dinoire, the first patient, is now over six years from her procedure and has appeared a few times in the media. Several patients consented to surgery provided their privacy were assured and the media have respected this. But many have told their inspiring stories in the press. A British surgical team led by Prof Peter Butler of the Royal Free Hospital in London gained ethical permission in 2006 to conduct 1-4 full face transplants.

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