Face transplant is a skin graft that involves replacing part or all of a patient's face with a donor face.
A face transplant is not something that is aimed at cosmetic enhancement. Instead, this emerging treatment is intended to give people with severe facial disfigurement better use of facial features such as eyes and lips and a more normal appearance than can be achieved through current reconstructive methods.
Face transplant practically moves the patient's own skin from their back, buttocks or thighs to their face in a series of as many as 50 operations to regain even limited function and a face that is often likened to a mask or a living quilt.
The prospect of transplanting a face from a dead person to another living person was first raised by plastic surgeons in 2002.
ce Transplant procedure consists of a series of operations requiring rotating teams of specialists. With issues of tissue type, age, sex, and skin color taken into consideration, the patient's face is removed and replaced (including the underlying fat, nerves and blood vessels, but no musculature). The surgery may last anywhere from 8 to 15 hours, followed by a 10-14 day hospital stay.
After the Face Transplant procedure a lifelong regimen of immunosuppressive drugs is necessary to suppress the patient's own immune systems and prevent rejection. Long-term immunosuppression increases the risk of developing life-threatening infections, kidney damage, and cancer. The surgery may result in complications such as infections that would turn the new face black and require a second transplant or reconstruction with skin grafts. Psychological effects of the procedure may include remorse, disappointment, or grief or guilt toward the donor.
Face Transplant does not give the patient's face the appearance of the deceased donor's face because the underlying musculature and bones are different. Facial movements are due to the brain so the personality as expressed by the face remains that of the patient. Only the skin of the face is transferred from the donor, not the three dimensional shape nor the personality it expresses.