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The Cleveland Clinic says it is the first institution to receive review board approval of human facial transplant for someone severely disfigured by burns or disease
The Cleveland Clinic says it is the first institution to receive review board approval of human facial transplant for someone severely disfigured by burns or disease. Several independent medical teams worldwide also are pursuing the procedure. The Cleveland Clinic said its approval Oct. 15 followed 10 months of debate on medical, ethical and psychological issues. It has no current patients or donors for the procedure. "We are, at this point, ready to begin screening patients," said Dr. Maria Siemionow, the hospital's director of plastic surgery research and training in microscopic surgery, wrote Seattle Post. Siemionow, 54, directed hundreds of published studies involving microcirculation and the successful transplantation of faces, limbs and other tissues in laboratory rats. Siemionow said she wants to start with a relatively simple procedure that involves transplanting only the skin and underlying fat. The patient's muscles shape the face, so the patient would not take on the appearance of the donor. The hospital's 15-member review board unanimously approved the procedure on Oct. 15, including the wording of informed-consent agreements that will be given to patients and donor families, says USA Today. A central question in debate over the procedure has been whether patients should be subjected to risks of transplant failure and life-threatening complications from anti-rejection drugs for an operation that is not lifesaving. Current facial reconstructive surgery uses skin grafts and flaps -- tissue containing blood vessels -- from other parts of a patient's body, Minneapolis Star informed.
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