First face transplant to go-ahead

Cleveland: US doctors are to transplant the face of a dead donor onto a patient with disfigurements.

Docotrs at the Cleveland Clinic believe that the treatment has a 50% chance of success and the recipient would have to take anti-rejection drugs for life.

The procedure would involve taking skin and underlying tissues from a dead donor and placing them on the living recipient. Though doctors are not entirely sure how the face will look, computer modelling has revealed that it would not look like the donor of the patient’s original face.

Surgeon Maria Siemionow and her team will interview five men and seven women as potential candidates for the 8-10 hour operation.

Dr Siemionow told Associated Press: “You want to choose patients who are really disfigured, not someone who has a little scar.”

Yet they will have to have enough healthy skin for traditional grafts in case the transplant fails.

They will be told that their face would be removed and replaced with one from a cadaver, matched for tissue type, age, sex and skin colour.