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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2007 Aug;120(2):559-65.

Psychosocial implications of disfigurement and the future of human face transplantation.

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  • 1Department of Sociology, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40202, USA.

Abstract

Although the first face transplants have been attempted, the social and psychological debates concerning the ethics and desirability of the procedure continue. Critics contend that these issues have not yet been sufficiently addressed. With this in mind, the present article seeks to elaborate on key psychological and social factors that will be central for addressing the ethical and psychosocial challenges necessary to move face transplantation into mainstream medicine. The goals of this article are to (1) discuss the psychosocial sequelae of facial disfiguration and how face transplantation may relieve those problems, and (2) delineate inclusion and exclusion criteria for the selection of research subjects for face transplantation. The article uses concepts from symbolic interaction theory in sociology to articulate a theoretically coherent scheme for comprehending the psychosocial difficulties of facial disfiguration and the advantages offered by facial transplantation. The authors conclude that the psychosocial implications of disfigurement warrant surgical intervention and that research in the area of face transplantation should continue.

PMID:
17632364
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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