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Monday 24th October 2016

Face transplant a 'last resort'

29th November 2006

27042006_operating_room.jpgThe British team given the go-ahead to carry out the world's first full facial transplant has said the treatment will only ever be a last resort.

It comes as the French surgeon behind the first partial face transplant reported his patient is able to smile again one year on from her surgery.

Isabelle Dinoire received the first partial face transplant after being mauled by her dog. The 38-year-old lost her nose, lips and chin in the attack.

Now her surgeon says her recovery has been so successful, she is able to go out without people noticing her scars.

Since her surgery another partial face transplant has taken place in China.

Clinical and health psychologist Dr Alex Clarke is part of the multi-disciplinary team at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, which has been granted permission by their research ethics committee to carry out four transplants as a clinical trial.

Dr Clarke told The Psychologist magazine, that all non-invasive interventions must be exhausted before transplantation is considered. The trial was also subject to finding suitable donors.

Three years ago the Royal College of Surgeons categorically said that face transplants should not take place without further research. In November, the working party laid down a list of 15 minimal requirements before such experimental surgery should go ahead, ranging from the skills of the surgical team to psychological counselling, care for donors’ families and plans for the aftermath.

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