"This is truly a remarkable and historic time in plastic surgery," said Bruce Cunningham, MD and ASPS president. "The ability to help restore some hope to a person who suffers from severe facial disfigurement for an improved quality of life is a wonderful thing. Still, there are many unanswered questions regarding this challenge and many important considerations for all involved."
The document considers the issue of facial transplantation by examining various subjects including, immunosuppression, transplant rejection, technical issues and psychological aspects (both those facing all transplant patients and those unique to facial transplant patients).
"As plastic surgeons we fully recognize the revolutionary prospects of facial transplantation," said William C. Pederson, MD and president of ASRM. "We just need to make sure that we approach this challenge having reflected on all the possibilities for both the patient and the surgical team."
The document concludes with 10 Guiding Principles that a surgeon should consider before undertaking facial transplantation for a patient. The principles address such issues as: appropriate patient selection; medical facility selection; patient informed consent; patient psychological evaluation; proper institutional oversight; and the ethics of the procedure.