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Face Transplants - What's your opinion? [Sep. 22nd, 2005|06:48 pm]
[mood |confusedconfused]
[music |Deleted songs from Aladdin.]


CLEVELAND - In the next few weeks, five men and seven women will secretly visit the Cleveland Clinic to interview for the chance to have a radical operation that’s never been tried anywhere in the world.

They will smile, raise their eyebrows, close their eyes, open their mouths. Dr. Maria Siemionow will study their cheekbones, lips and noses. She will ask what they hope to gain and what they most fear.

Then she will ask, “Are you afraid that you will look like another person?”

Because whoever she chooses will endure the ultimate identity crisis.

Siemionow wants to attempt a face transplant.

This is no extreme TV makeover. It is a medical frontier being explored by a doctor who wants the public to understand what she is trying to do.

It is this: to give people horribly disfigured by burns, accidents or other tragedies a chance at a new life. Today’s best treatments still leave many of them with freakish, scar-tissue masks that don’t look or move like natural skin.

These people already have lost the sense of identity that is linked to the face; the transplant is merely “taking a skin envelope” and slipping their identity inside, Siemionow contends.

Her supporters note her experience, careful planning, the team of experts assembled to help her, and the practice she has done on animals and dozens of cadavers to perfect the technique.

But her critics say the operation is way too risky for something that is not a matter of life or death, as organ transplants are. They paint the frighteningly surreal image of a worst-case scenario: a transplanted face being rejected and sloughing away, leaving the patient worse off than before.

Such qualms recently scuttled face transplant plans in France and England.

Ultimately, it comes to this: a hospital, doctor and patient willing to try it.

The first two are now in place. The third is expected to be shortly.

A combination of two appearances?
The “consent form” says that this surgery is so novel and its risks so unknown that doctors don’t think informed consent is even possible.

Here is what it tells potential patients:

Your face will be removed and replaced with one donated from a cadaver, matched for tissue type, age, sex and skin color. Surgery should last 8 to 10 hours; the hospital stay, 10 to 14 days.

Complications could include infections that turn your new face black and require a second transplant or reconstruction with skin grafts. Drugs to prevent rejection will be needed lifelong, and they raise the risk of kidney damage and cancer.

After the transplant you might feel remorse, disappointment, or grief or guilt toward the donor. The clinic will try to shield your identity, but the press likely will discover it.

The clinic will cover costs for the first patient; nothing about others has been decided.

Another form tells donor families that the person receiving the face will not resemble their dead loved one. The recipient should look similar to how he or she did before the injury because the new skin goes on existing bone and muscle, which give a face its shape.

All of the little things that make up facial expression — mannerisms like winking when telling a joke or blushing at a compliment — are hard-wired into the brain and personality, not embedded in the skin.

Related story
Breaking Bioethics: Face-off over transplants

Some research suggests the end result would be a combination of the two appearances.

-- The rest of the article you can read by going to the link. It's 3 pages long, so I didn't want to put it all here and overwhelm you.

How would you feel about donating your face? I feel fine about donating my organs... but my face?

From: lickedastopsign
2005-09-22 04:51 pm (UTC)
aw. thats cute yet gross. i burnt my hand so i know the scars can be bad :(
but i dont know about transplanting my face..
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2005-09-22 09:10 pm (UTC)
What's cute about it? *confused*
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From: lickedastopsign
2005-09-23 01:38 pm (UTC)
that people would donate their faces for someone less fortunate.. no?
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2005-09-23 08:49 pm (UTC)
Well... I don't know if when people agree to be donors they expect their face to be carved off..
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[User Picture]From: icant_win
2005-09-22 05:04 pm (UTC)
Ehh not so much. That kinda weirded me out. I wouldnt want a dead persons skin on my face.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2005-09-22 09:11 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I guess what really weirds me out about that situation is.. what if you run into like a highschol girlfriend/boyfriend with that face? Their child? Isnt that too weird to even possibly consider.. it's like a bad made for tv movie and here they are doing it.
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From: mc___mc
2005-09-22 05:16 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2005-09-22 09:11 pm (UTC)
I agree!
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[User Picture]From: dominatrixcat
2005-09-22 09:10 pm (UTC)
wlel i guess if someone is so unhappy with their appearances due to misfortunes and dont mind the risk of kidney damage or cancer, and cancer i feel is more scarry than living weith a deformed face, but if they are willing to risk it all, then i pray that it all goes well and they find it worth it to them, and they have happy lives because they have already gone through so much to really want to face the risks.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2005-09-22 09:13 pm (UTC)
I mean it's all about personal choice and more power to them.. I jsut think it's a really scary scenario.. not just because of health complication possibilities.. but what about running into someone who knew the fella/gal who had your face before you did... A bit awkward, I feel.
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[User Picture]From: dominatrixcat
2005-09-23 12:33 pm (UTC)
like the article said there would be a resemblence, but it would be too different because of the bone and muscle structure differences, its just the skin being replaced, its like taking seran wrap(however its spelled) and placing it over the muscles, not taking the persons bones and muscles and replacing them
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2005-09-23 08:48 pm (UTC)
Still.. I don't know. I think it's creepy.
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[User Picture]From: barcodegurl
2005-09-22 09:27 pm (UTC)
wow... that's really scary.
i guess if someone is at the point in life where they are so unhappy with their appearance that they would risk so much to look a bit more normal again, then it is worth it. with all of the plastic surgery options out there i am sure the new face wouldn't resemble the deceased donor. i mean, how much of a person's eyes and smile change the way they look? that would all be from the original person.
still, wow. weird. i would definitely be interested in reading about the results if anyone ever attempts this.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2005-09-23 08:15 pm (UTC)
From the article it appears they'll attempt it on one candidate. I can't even process this just yet. It's a reall interesting idea, if not entirely freaking horror movie ish, you know? What was that movie where the guy had a hand or arm implant or something of a murderer and it made him murder people? I don't know. Far fetched but it can't help but make me shudder just a bit.
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[User Picture]From: duckfast
2005-09-23 12:02 am (UTC)
face transplants.....how odd.
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[User Picture]From: gryphon3e
2005-09-23 02:30 am (UTC)
And icky

Especially as it means the face will be essentially numb

The skin of the face will not be directly touch sensitive, so while you will be able to feel pressure contact through the nerves under the skin, the skin itself will be dead to the touch.

Not sure this has been pointed out in all the literature

But it will make one hell of a lot of difference when you shave your face wont it.

Or kiss with your new lips


What happens as a bloke if you get a womans face without a beard


What happens if you gat a blokes face as a woman

LOADS of shaving ....he he he he
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From: tjousk
2005-09-23 04:14 pm (UTC)
heh, indeed.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2005-09-23 08:42 pm (UTC)
lol. I'm sure they'd keep it gender specific -- but WOW! Good point about the touching. :( Sadness.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2005-09-23 08:36 pm (UTC)
Face Offish!
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