First facial transplants will occur in Andalucía

The Research and Ethics Committee of Andalucía has informed the Ministry of Health that it sees no problem in the carrying out of so-called ‘face transplants’ at the Virgen del Rocio Hospital in Sevilla.

Andalucía is set to become the first region in Spain to carry out face transplants, or implementing ‘composite tissue transplantation in facial structures’, as it will actually be termed.

Such interventions will only be carried out within the public health system and each cases will be individually assessed by the Ethics Committee. Strict technical and scientific controls will be put in place and each case will also have to be approved by the National Transplant Organization (ONT).

Patients awaiting such a procedure are already being treated within the health service and the decision to operate will not be based on aesthetics but on a serious health problem. While the operation may not be essential for the patient to live, it could be, for example, someone who has a partial or complete deficit of  facial structure which causes difficulty in breathing or eating and forces them to remain at home.

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