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HomeFocus → Face transplantation is the new frontier of plastic surgery

Face transplantation is the new frontier of plastic surgery Print E-mail
Written by Erez Dayan, MD and Luccie Wo | KevinMD   
Tuesday, 03 October 2017 18:09

Replace like with like - that is the basic principle of reconstructive surgery since its conception in the mid-1500s. Borrow from the healthy part of the body to rebuild the damaged part ... But what do you do when you have run out of places to borrow? What if there simply isn't anything like it anywhere else on the body? How do you reconstruct something as complicated as the human face? The answer - the newest frontier in reconstructive surgery - is transplantation.

The first human face transplant took place in France in 2005, an unfortunate woman whose face was devastated by a severe dog bite. Over thirty face transplants have followed in its steps; each unique from the previous, just as each face is unique from the previous. Each grabbed the media's spotlight and hailed as a medical miracle. Each raises the ethical question "Is it worth it?" Should surgeons perform a "life-enhancing" procedure at the expense of lifelong immunosuppression? Where is the line between reconstructive surgeries to aesthetic surgery in face transplants?
 


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