A severe accident that results in facial damage will make a person feel hit. Because, the face is the first part of the body that usually becomes the center of attention. Face transplant is one of the solutions offered by the medical world to repair a face that has suffered severe damage that cannot be handled by ordinary plastic surgery.
What is Face Transplant?
Face transplant is a graft method to replace part or all of a patient’s face with a suitable donor facial component. This surgery usually uses the skin, tissues, nerves, blood vessels, bones, or other components in the face of a deceased person to be grafted on the patient.
The doctor will look for a match in terms of skin color, face size, blood type, tissue type, and age that is comparable between the donor and the patient. So, later the patient will only receive the necessary components from the donor’s face, not necessarily the entire face is transferred to someone else.
The components of the donor will be taken and adjusted to the structure of the patient’s face. Thus, the end result does not mean that the patient has the donor’s face.
Why would someone need a face transplant?
Face transplants are performed to improve the quality of life of patients with severe facial disabilities due to trauma, burns, disease, or congenital diseases. Face transplantation aims to improve the appearance and function of facial muscles such as chewing, swallowing, talking, and breathing. Face transplants can also be recommended in people with facial disabilities who are ostracized from the social environment.
Face transplant procedure
What to prepare before undergoing a face transplant procedure?
There are several questions that must be answered as consideration before deciding to undergo a face transplant procedure, namely:
- Have you considered the risks of a face transplant procedure?
- Are you ready to undergo lifelong care and control?
- What do you expect after undergoing a face transplant procedure?
- Have you consulted a doctor about other treatment options such as facial prostheses or conventional facial reconstruction?
Then, the medical team will evaluate your condition in qualifying for a face transplant procedure, namely:
- Have a disability in the face
- Impaired function of the facial muscles such as swallowing disorders or speech disorders.
- Have undergone comprehensive examinations such as X-ray photos, CT-scans, MRIs, blood tests, and other examinations
- Have undergone psychic and emotional evaluations.
- Has no history of chronic nervous disorders
- Not pregnant
- Not have serious health disorders such as diabetes, heart problems, or untreated cancer
- Has no recent history of infection
- Not smo**king, not drinking alco**hol, or taking drugs.
The face transplant surgery usually takes a long period of time, which can take more than 10 hours. In this process, a team of surgeons will perform a reconstruction of your face, including the arrangement of bones, arteries, veins, tendons, muscles, nerves, as well as skin.
If you do a partial face transplant, then usually what will be reconstructed is the middle part of the face, which includes the nose and lips. Because, this part of the face is at the highest level of difficulty if done with conventional plastic surgery techniques.
Surgeons will connect the blood vessels in the patient’s face to the grafted part of the face before connecting nerves and other tissues such as bone, cartilage and muscles.
During this surgery, other separate surgery will also be performed. Typically, the doctor will take a skin sample from the donor’s arm to attach it to the patient’s chest or abdomen. The goal is for the grafted skin to work like a face transplant tissue that will eventually become part of the patient’s own skin.
This is done so that the doctor can take a small sample in the new chest or abdominal tissue to see signs of rejection. So that the doctor does not need to take a skin sample from the face that will interfere with the tissue after surgery.
After successful surgery, patients will be required to stay in the hospital for one to four weeks, as needed. During that time, the patient will be monitored intensively for developmental views. Whether the face is experiencing signs of incompatibility or not. In addition, patients will also be guided to perform facial therapy.
When the patient is allowed to go home, the doctor will schedule the necessary follow-up care. In addition, the doctor will also prescribe immunosuppressive drugs that are usually consumed for life to prevent the body’s rejection of new skin grafts on the patient’s face.
First face transplant in the world
In 2005, Isabelle Dinoire became the first woman in the world to undergo a face transplant.
Isabelle underwent surgery on November 27, 2005 at Amiens Hospital France and managed to appear in public on Monday (06/02/2006).
She had a face transplant because she was attacked by her pet Labrador.