Face transplant operations are set to take place in the UK as many disfigured people are approaching the country's surgeons. Jacqueline Saburido who suffered 60% burn injuries is one among them. Jacqueline Saburido has already undergone several reconstruction surgeries, and she is now able to see with her left eye. The first face transplant will be conducted by consultant plastic surgeon Peter Butler.
About five patients will be identified by Butler, and by one year, the first face transplant operation is expected to take place in the UK. The candidate patients will have to be seen by the Royal Free Hospital's Ethics Committee. It is necessary for psychological distress and normal function should to be impaired for the surgeries to be cleared by the Ethics Committee. There should also be a system by which the families of donors will be approached. There will be emotional problems for donor families if they were to see and recognize the face of their dead relative at a future date.
AdvertisementThis is however unlikely to be the case as the bone structure of the recipient patient will alter the appearance of the dead donor. Matching for color, sex and skin will also have to be taken care of. The cost of the operation is estimated at £20,000, in addition to £5,000 annually towards the required drugs. The patient will have to continue taking the drugs for the rest of his or her life to prevent the new skin from being rejected.