Face transplant surgery is helpful for those people who suffer from acute facial disfigurement as it involves removal of a part or all of an individual’s face using donor tissue from someone who has passed away. It’s an extremely complex procedure that involves several surgical teams and months of preparation. The treatment facility is available in only a few transplant centers globally.
The surgery is performed when – • A person is badly disfigured by burns, facial trauma, disease or congenital defects. • A person wants to improve the form and functional abilities like talking, swallowing, chewing and breathing through the nose. • A person wants to overcome his/her social isolation caused due to facial disfigurement. However, a face transplant surgery involves high-risk as your transplant team can’t really envisage how you’re going to look and in what way your immune system will react to the new face. You will be put on certain medicines for your whole life thereafter to reduce the possibility of your body rejecting the transplanted face.
You will be examined by the transplant team where you must –• Not be pregnant• Have no past of unremitting nerve conditions • Not be a drug addict or alcoholic• Have acute facial defacement • Have had no allergies recently Besides, your surgical team will take a few comprehensive tests, such as blood tests, X-rays, MRI and CT scans to assess your physical health. While making your match with the donor face for a transplant, your surgeon will consider – • Tissue type• Blood type• Skin complexion• Compatible facial size of both the recipient and the donor• Comparable ages of recipient and donor
The duration of the surgery is dependent upon how much the face region and its underlying structures are involved. But usually it takes from 10 to 30 hours.During the surgery, your medical team may transplant several tissues of the donor like fat, skin, muscles, cartilage, tendons, blood vessels and bone nerves. The duration of the surgery is dependent upon how much the face region and its underlying structures are involved. But usually it takes from 10 to 30 hours. During the surgery, your medical team may transplant several tissues of the donor like fat, skin, muscles, cartilage, tendons, blood vessels and bone nerves.
Once the surgery is performed, you will be made to stay in the hospital for 2 to 4 weeks. During this period, you will –• Be put on medicines to alleviate your pain• Be fed through the tube • Start speech and physical therapy • Be given immunosuppressant drugs to not let your body reject the transplanted face
Risk And Complications
• There is a surgical risk involved as it is a complex and lengthy procedure that can be life-threatening because of substantial blood loss, infection and blood clot. • Another risk involved is rejection risk where the immune system of your body may reject the donor tissues and the new face. • Then, there is Immunosuppressant risk involved due to the in-take of anti-rejection drugs where you’re exposed to a variety of infections and increased risk of cancer, kidney damage, diabetes, etc.