Got a face for radio? Transplant it.
04/16/2009, 1:44 pm
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251530030Well, not quite. But face transplants are becoming increasingly common – doctors in Boston recently performed the seventh such operation, and surgeons around the world predict many more to come.

But this isn’t your basic nosejob: the operation uses the face of a dead body, incuding nerves, bone, skin and cartilage, to repair the visages of seriously disfigured individuals – including war vets and victims of accidents. Last week’s patient had lived nearly his entire life with serious disfigurement after a freak childhood incident, and Isabelle Dinoire, the first face transplant recipient, had been mauled by a dog.

The surgeries are, obviously, risky, and require between 15 to 20 hours of operating time. Patients then go through months of rehabilitation and need to take medication for the rest of their lives. Doctors warn that the psychological and social implications can be even more severe than the physical: talking, eating and drinking are difficult, along with the challenge of, well, living with an entirely new face…

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