Facial Transplantation: An Ethical Debate
With the recent advent of facial transplant (FT) treatment, patients who live with facial disfigurement have a new hope of improved facial aesthetics and quality of life. However, FT has been the subject of intense ethical debate, and there are numerous important ethical considerations surrounding FT that require further in-depth exploration. In the present review, the numerous ethical issues surrounding FT are elucidated, especially the weighty psychosocial impacts of FT, issues surrounding patients’ consent, selection and donor matching, and current challenges with postoperative complication management and the facial reconstruction of donors. These are discussed with a key focus on stakeholders’ perspectives including recipients, donors’ families, and the medical teams involved. This review found that a number of key ethical questions remain unanswered in the field of FT, and further consideration is needed for this novel surgical procedure to have the same evidence-based ethical backing as conventional surgical procedures.
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