Scientists now believe that it is only a matter of time before the first human face transplant is performed. Doctors in different countries around the world have developed the surgical skills and anatomical knowledge to make the procedure possible. Such transplants could benefit patients who have had their faces disfigured through accident or illness.
However, leading surgeons in the UK have warned against performing facial transplant surgery without further research. They are concerned about the ethical, legal and moral issues of face transplants, as well as the psychological effect on the patients themselves.
In a recent statement, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons, Sir Peter Morris, said: "Facial transplantation is not only a matter of technical achievement. We must also take into consideration the psychological impact on the recipient and on the donor family."
There are concerns among doctors that giving patients a different face could lead to a loss of identity, which in turn may cause serious emotional confusion. The recipients may also have to deal with mixed reactions from close family and friends.
As well as the psychological impact of face transplants, there are a number of serious health issues. In particular, surgeons estimate that there could be a one in ten chance of immediate rejection of the new tissue by the recipient‘s body. Patients would also have to follow a strict regime of anti-rejection drugs throughout their lives. In addition, they would need to avoid exposure to the sun and would be required to follow a special diet.
In recent weeks there has been much discussion in the media about a “face race” in which doctors from different countries are planning to perform the first operation. Surgeons from countries as far apart as China, Colombia, the UK and the US are said to be working towards the first face transplant.
However, such a race has been hotly denied by the surgeons themselves. One leading transplant expert, John Barker, from Louisville University in the US, claimed that the whole idea of a “face race” had been invented by the media. "If I were in a race, I think I should know about it. I don‘t know about it so we are not in a race."
The international “face race” itself may be an invention of the media who are keen to dramatize this new development in modern medicine. Nevertheless, there seems little doubt that the first human face transplant will take place in the near future with a huge blaze of publicity for both the surgeons and the patient.
Read the article. Decide if these sentences are true (T) or false (F). Surgeons recently performed the first face transplant.
Only doctors in the UK have the knowledge to perform face transplants.
Sir Peter Morris thinks the psychological impact of face transplants is important.
Doctors believe face transplants could cause identity problems for patients.
Surgeons say there is a 50 per cent chance that face transplants could be rejected.
Only surgeons in the UK and US are said to be working on face transplants.
John Barker thinks the “face race” is a media invention.
It seems that the first face transplant will happen in the near future.
Here are some definitions of words used in the first four paragraphs of the text. Find the words they describe. a medical operation in which a damaged organ, etc. is replaced with one from another person