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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Face transplants - the eewww factor

Scientific advances are taking us in directions previously only dreamed of in the pages of sci-fi novels, or in this case, an episode of sci-fi television. A dozen candidates are now interviewing to receive the world's first face transplant to be performed at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Yes, there's an eewww factor to the whole thought of a cadaver's face being spread around your own. Still, these candidates are faring with burns that have disfigured them so badly they are eager to be wrapped in a cadaver's skin. Despite the risks of infection and possible rejection, the candidates believe the procedure is worth the risk just to look "normal."

Even doctors cannot agree whether the donee will look like himself or the donor. Some believe the recipient will look as he (or she) did before sustaining the burn damage. Others believe the new face will be a meld between donor and donee.

Still other doctors feel the psychological factor of wearing someone else's face is risky even without the physical concerns to be dealt with.

No matter the arguments, it seems that the transplant is as good as a go. Now, the doctors hope to find the perfect candidate.

The sci-fi episode I mentioned above comes from the second season of Star Trek: Voyager ("Faces") and featured a race of aliens whose bodies were degrading rapidly so they sought organs from other species. One such creature thought to impress the heroine of the episode by killing off a human male and masking himself in the dead man's face. Below is the result:

Damn creepy. Hopefully the recipient of the transplant will fare a whole lot better than this.

Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 9/20/2005 04:29:00 PM Permanent Link     | | Home


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