Saturday, April 24, 2010

Full Face Transplant

Last month, Spanish doctors conducted the first full face transplant on a man who accidentally shot himself; today they released a report that he is so far doing well. This is amazing; I have always been interested in reconstructive technology. A disfiguring accident is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a person. So often, it means that you have to exist outside of society----many disfigured people find it very hard to even get a job. When I see breakthroughs like this, it gives me hope that people who are suffering out there will get help.

Last year, Connie Culp received a half-face transplant. Her story is really amazing, and she looks phenomenal especially considering she was shot in the fucking face. Before her reconstruction, a little girl once told her she looked like a monster, and this poor woman pulled out her driver's license to show the little girl what she used to look like, instead of bursting into tears as I would have.

The first successful half-face transplant was French woman Isabelle Dinoire, a sad case wrought with controversy (how else could it be when your dogs ate half your face?) She is apparently doing well, and under care of a good doctor, which she will have to be for the rest of her life.

But things don't always go well. The immunosuppressant drugs that transplant patients have to take for the remainder of their lives cause some people to change their mind, with deadly consequences. A man who received a new hand even insisted that doctos remove it because it "felt like a dead man's hand."

Still, more people than not are satisfied with their surgeries. They do not restore them to their former selves, but they help give them back the one thing we take for granted as our most valuable possession: a face.

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