Briefly summarized, the article discusses the first human face-transplant surgery that is due to take place in the next few months.
The procedure, which has already been successfully completed on cadavers, takes the face from a dead donor and grafts it to the removed facial area of the recipient. The result is expected to resemble neither the pre-disfigured recipient, nor the donor, as the new skin takes the shape of the recipient’s skeletal form.
Doctors are currently conducting interviews for a candidate for this first, experimental surgery– looking for someone with severe disfigurement. Assuming this operation is a success– even if this first surgery fails (which there is an estimated 50% chance of), doubtless it will refined and mastered– there’s no question that, where there’s money available, this nature of surgery will be extended to the public as a whole, and not just those with severe facial disfigurements.
The article concludes by quoting Charity Changing Faces:
It is our view that today’s excellent conventional surgery combined with the very best psychological and social rehabilitation programmes can very effectively enable patients with severe disfigurements to live full and active lives.
The continuing speculation about face transplants is not helpful for people with disfigurements.
My thoughts are not well enough developed for me to voice them here, but I will note that Chuck Palahniuk’s Invisible Monsters provides an interesting, albeit disturbing, look into the sort of individual this type of surgery would best service, and the society– our society– that creates these individuals.