FACIAL TRANSPLANTATION

As previously reported in the scientific literature and the newspapers, facial transplantation has recently been performed successfully in several patients in France (Paris and Amiens), Spain and China. This surgical procedure remains an exceptional operation, but nevertheless a certain group of patients can not be treated and helped sufficiently with the current surgical techniques of facial reconstruction. These patients experience their facial mutilation as an unacceptable psychosocial and functionally debilitating obstruction to recover an adequate quality of life. Such patients are also present in Belgium and the surrounding countries. The main indications to perform facial transplantation are severe congenital facial malformations, burn sequellae and facial trauma.

In 2009 a multidisciplinary team was created in the University Hospital Gent under supervision of Prof. Dr. Phillip Blondeel to investigate the possibilities to perform facial transplantations in Belgian patients. This team has worked out a complete and detailed treatment protocol based on own research in cadaver studies and the experience of the medical teams of Amiens and Paris. Attention was paid not only to the technical and ethical points of the procedure and the follow up after the transplantation but also to the respectful aftercare of the face of the donor and guidance of his family.

This thorough research has allowed us to announce that our team is ready to perform a facial transplantation. Patients still have to been screened medically and psychologically before they can be qualified as potential candidates for facial transplantation.

If you think you are a potential candidate for this procedure or if you have any further questions concerning the practical issues of this operation, please contact the department of Plastic Surgery by e-mail info@plasticsurgeryghent.be.

 

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