Face transplants are coming to London. Actual face transplants – although that is a pretty good name for a band.
The first partial face transplant was of course big news – a woman whose face was mutilated by a dog was the first ever recipient of the new flesh (more John Woo than David Cronenberg). Now surgeons in London are keen to give full face transplants a bash.
There are of course a lot of pitfalls with such a procedure.
The patient will need to take immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of their lives to prevent the face being rejected
Now that’s a good reason to stay on your meds. It’s embarrassing enough when you drop your Anne Summers bag open on the tube, but how would you feel if your whole face fell into the cleavage of the girl you were trying not to be caught staring at?
Consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon Iain Hutchison also points out that “the other issue is that for a donor’s family; this could well interfere with the grieving process.” There’s also the stumbling block of needing to take the transplanted face from a live donor. This means the donor is kept on a ventilator until after his or her face is removed. Then the tubes and plugs are pulled but with no guarantee that the now faceless person will do the expected thing and quickly shuffle off.
Expect a flurry of face transplant themed scifi and horror over the next year.
It’s early days yet – give it another fifteen years before Hollywood morons are swapping faces as often as spouses via their plastic surgeon. Maybe fifteen after that before dead actor’s faces start popping up in new films… imagine a world with Tom Cruise as a constant. Now that’s scary…