Trust plastic surgeons to be greedier! Not satisfied with the relative success of the partial face transplant on a French woman, plastic surgeons are hungry to perform the first full face transplant. Reporting in the March issue of Plastic and Reconstructive SurgeryŽ (PRS), the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), U.S. plastic surgeons demonstrated the procedure of a full-face transplant.
"For the first time, we have scientific data that takes us beyond traditional reconstructive techniques and partial facial transplantation," said ASPS President Bruce Cunningham, MD. "What we thought of as a possibility - reconstructing the entire face of someone with a severe facial disfigurement, in one surgery, from one complete facial skin flap taken from a donor - is no longer just theory, but will become an actuality." Maria Siemionow, MD, director of plastic surgery research at the Cleveland Clinic and the lead author of the study added, "The transplantation of a facial tissue flap from one cadaver to another has allowed us to do the following: estimate the time it takes to perform this particular transplantation, perfect our technique and visually confirm that a facial tissue flap is a match when covering severe burns and other trauma." Previously grafts and skin patches have been used to reconstruct the face, but these are not ideal processes since they leave ugly patches and scars. In the current study, five hours were needed to perform the transplant from one cadaver to another, "Plastic surgeons have historically been at the forefront of transplantation medicine," said Dr. Cunningham. "The first successful hand transplantation was performed by a plastic surgeon in 1998, as was the first kidney transplant in 1954. The idea of tissue transplantation has opened a new era in this field of medicine."