Face Transplants

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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It is becoming more and more evident that there is large chance for failure in performing a face transplant. There are many things that must be taken into consideration before undergoing the operation. One thing that doctors are worried about is that the persons face will become permanently disfigured if anything goes wrong. Doctors are not even sure if the transplant will provide a working or even a partially working face( ). A face transplant would l allow the surgeon to mold the new face and tissue to the persons head, which is suppose to be a closer resemblance than the way it is done now. A face transplant is not going to save somebody's life, or even extend a persons life. One of the most difficult things to transplant on the human body is skin, and it is very sensitive to tissue form another persons body. Doctors also say that patients who undergo the surgery are going to have a hard time adjusting to their new face.

There are many risks that are involved with the surgery, but the people who need the face transplants are not that concerned with the possible outcomes. The people who need the transplants already have a disfigured face in some form. It could be from severe burns or being attacked by an animal, but the only thing they are thinking about is having a face that is intact and looks normal.

The face transplant surgery is a long procedure that doctors say they've been ready to perform for ten years. The first step in the procedure is to cut the skin from the donors face. The surgeon will cut from just under the hairline to below the chin. Then the doctor removes the skin and all of the tissue from the donor. They try and use as much tissue from the donor as possible because the tissue from the recipient might cause a negative reaction. The next step is to remove the face from the recipient. Doctors have to make sure to secure veins and arteries to block the blood flow. The last step is to attach the arteries and veins from the recipients face to the donor's tissue. Then the nerves are reconnected followed by the muscles then the skin. The whole procedure could take anywhere from twelve to twenty four hours. They have already successfully completed a hand transplant in humans as well as face transplants in animals such as rabbits, rats, and pigs.

When the surgery is complete the persons face is going to be a mixture between the donor and the recipient, but that is not the end of it. If the surgery is a success then the recipient of the face will have to take drugs for the rest of their lives in order to stay alive. If their body can not handle the drugs that they have to take then there is a strong chance that they will not make it. The drugs that the recipients have to take are very toxic. Even if there body can handle these new drugs some serious problems could occur from them. It is believed that these drugs could eventually lead to kidney failure and cancer later on down the road in life. So while they may survive the initial surgery, the drugs that they are going to be taken are extremely harmful to their overall health. The effects of the drugs is going to play a big role in the number of people who are going to be receiving face transplants.