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Authors Brown CS, Gander B, Cunningham M, Furr A, Vasilic D, Wiggins O, Banis JC, Vossen M, Maldonado C, Perez-Abadia G, Barker JH
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Journal Int J Surg Volume: 5 Issue: 5 Pages: 353-64
Publish Date 2007 Oct
PubMed ID 17933695
Abstract

Human face transplantation is now a clinical reality. The surgical techniques necessary to perform these procedures have been used routinely in reconstructive microsurgery for many years. From an immunological standpoint since face and hand contain mostly the same tissues it is reasonable to assume that the same immunosuppressive regimen found to be effective in human hand transplants should also work in face transplantation. It is the ethical issues associated with the risks and benefits of performing facial transplantation that have posed the greatest challenges leading up to performing this new procedure. In this editorial, we will review some of the main events that have led to the recently performed human face transplants, specifically focusing on the key ethical issues at the center of this debate. We will discuss how the research and clinical experience in human hand transplantation laid the foundation for performing face transplantation and describe the research and the ethical guidelines upon which a team at the University of Louisville based their position “to move ahead” in spite of much criticism. Finally we will outline some of the key arguments against face transplantation, and conclude with a discussion on what comes next now that the first human face transplants have been performed.

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