What is Face Transplant?
Some people with severe facial damage or a visible difference in the appearance of their faces may benefit from a face transplant. A face transplant replaces all or part of the face with donor tissue from someone who has died.
A face transplant is a complex procedure that requires months of planning and multiple surgical teams. Only a few transplant centers around the world perform the procedure. Each candidate for a face transplant is carefully evaluated to ensure the best possible results in appearance and function.
Although a face transplant can improve your life, it is risky. You and your transplant team cannot know how you will look or how your immune system will react to the new face. You’ll need to take particular medications (immunosuppressants) for the rest of your life to reduce the risk of your body rejecting the transplanted face.
Why is Face Transplant surgery is performed?
A face transplant improves the quality of life of someone who has suffered from severe trauma, burns, disease, or congenital disabilities that have affected their face. It’s designed to improve the appearance and functional abilities like chewing, swallowing, talking, and breathing through the nose. Some people seek this surgery to alleviate their social isolation due to visible differences in their faces.
What are the risk factors involved?
A face transplant is a complicated procedure. It is relatively new and highly complex. Since the first face transplant was performed in 2005, more than forty people between 19 and 60 have undergone the procedure. Several people have died as a result of infection or rejection.
Complications can arise as a result of the following:
- Surgical risks
A face transplant is a complex and time-consuming procedure. You could be in surgery for ten hours or more. Surgical and post-surgical risks can be fatal. Blood loss, blood clots, and infection are among them.
- Risks of rejection
Your immune system may reject the new face and other donor tissues. You may lose some or all of your new face and function. Rarely, tissue rejection necessitates a new transplant. Uncontrolled rejection may result in death. You must learn the signs of rejection to take timely and appropriate action. They include swelling and a change in skin color.
- Immunosuppressant risks
Your immune system will be weakened by the anti-rejection drugs (immunosuppressants) you must take daily for the rest of your life. This helps prevent tissue rejection but also increases your risk of infection. Immunosuppressive medications have also been linked to an increased risk of kidney damage, cancer, diabetes, and other serious diseases.
What can you expect prior to the Face Transplant procedure?
Before your face transplant procedure, you must undergo a series of tests, including:
Physiology: Your doctor will examine your body and face functions. The facial muscles and nerves must be sufficiently healthy to support the growth of new nervous tissue. You must also be able to tolerate the surgery, lifelong immunosuppressive therapy, and extensive physical and rehabilitative therapy after the transplant.
Physical: Your physical health will be evaluated by your healthcare provider. Checking your overall physical health, family health history, medications you’re taking, assessing your heart and other organ systems, blood tests, X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, and other tests and screenings are all part of a physical evaluation. A 3D-printed model of your skull can be made from X-ray and CT scan images. Your healthcare provider can create a comprehensive surgical plan using a 3D-printed skull.
Psychological: Psychiatrists and social workers will talk about potential sources of stress that you and your support system may face during the face transplant process and recovery. Stressors may include public and possibly media attention, a new facial appearance, and any setbacks in recovery.
What experiences you encounter during a Face Transplant procedure?
Your donor may have recently passed away or be brain-dead. Machines keep a brain-dead person’s body alive, but their brain shows no signs of life. During a face transplant, your healthcare team removes the donor’s entire face, including:
The face is then cooled and preserved in a special solution by healthcare providers. You are sedated (put to sleep) during a face transplant procedure so that you are not awake and do not feel any pain.
Once you’re asleep, healthcare providers may need to shave your face or scalp to prepare the area. The face the world in the world of the media and the media in the world of the media and the world of the media in the media. The marks will guide their incisions and identify veins and arteries connecting to the donated face.
Medical professionals will remove your damaged skin and tissues. The most critical aspect of the surgery is connecting all of your blood vessels to the donor’s face using tiny surgical needles and thread. Blood vessels allow your transplanted face to receive blood, which keeps the tissue alive (vascularization). Once your healthcare providers confirm that blood flows to your transplanted face, they will connect (graft) your nerves and muscles. Your face can feel and be sensitive to touch, heat, cold, and pain, thanks to the nerves in your face. Chewing, smiling, frowning, blinking, and moving your brows are all facial muscles. Screws and plates can also be used to join cartilage and bones.
What experiences do you encounter after the Face Transplant procedure is done?
After the face transplant procedure is finished, your anesthesiologist will stop administering anesthesia to keep you asleep. You’ll be transferred to an intensive care unit, where doctors will wait for you to wake up and monitor your overall health. Your healthcare providers will transfer you to a transplant unit once they believe you are safe. You’ll begin working with physical therapists in the transplant unit to develop facial movements. You can also speak with psychiatrists about any psychological issues you may be experiencing during your recovery, such as anxiety or depression.