The revolutionary procedure of full face transplant will be discussed and is set to be approved in UK this week, on Wednesday. The ethics experts of the Royal Free Hospital
in North London are expected to give the go-ahead for the ultimate step in surgery.
Mr. Peter Butler, top surgeon at Royal Free Hospital has been doing research in the field of face transplant for more than 14 years and will carry out the operations on four or five patients who haven't yet been chosen. Nevertheless, many disfigured volunteers have offered to go through the surgical procedure in order to have their faces reconstructed.
Among them, Simon Weston, who suffered terrible burns during the Falklands War. He also plans to accompany the members of the medical committee to the discussions on Wednesday in order to explain how having an abnormal face has negatively influenced his life and why should full face transplants be approved.
Members of the Royal Free Hospital state that the green light for full face transplant will relieve the suffering of disfigured patients that have been expecting the procedure to be approved for years. This will make them become normal again and line up to a superficial society that gives more and more emphasis to the looks of a person.
Three years ago, Professor Butler intended to perform a face transplant for a 14 years old girl, but this was prevented by the Royal College of Surgeons. The College claimed that a failed operation could have a huge psychological impact on the patient and decided that the negative hypothetical effects would outnumber the benefits from a successful medical intervention.
The same happened last year in France, when the national ethics authorities rejected a full face transplant in the case of a disfigured factory worker aged 38. However, on November 2005, Isabelle Dinoire became the world's first recipient of a partial face transplant after she had her face devoured by the pet dog.
She underwent a 15 hours surgical procedure performed by the French doctors who replaced her nose, lips and chin. The surgery proved to be successful and the woman declared last month in a TV interview: "I now have a face like everybody else. I will be able to live again. I hope this operation will help other people too."