LOS ANGELES, May 25, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- The UCLA Health System has launched the UCLA Face Transplantation Program, the first surgical program of its kind in the western United States and one of only a handful in the nation.
"Facial transplantation offers the potential to restore humanity to persons who have suffered the devastating loss of their face," said Dr. Kodi Azari, chief of reconstructive transplantation and associate professor of surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "People with massive facial injuries often have trouble breathing, speaking and eating, as well as depression and social isolation. Early surgeries have demonstrated very promising results in improving both appearance and function."
The UCLA face transplantation team recognizes the sensitivity required when it comes to working with patients who have experienced a severe facial disfigurement. Understanding that a person's identity and sense of self are closely tied to their facial appearance, the team will also support the patient's motional adjustment to their new face after the surgery.
"Our goal in creating this program is to return a sense of normalcy to our patients' lives," said Dr. Reza Jarrahy, surgical co-director of the new program and assistant professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Geffen School of Medicine. "We hope that restoring facial form and function will provide the opportunity for patients to lead productive lives that are not defined or hampered by facial appearance."
UCLA is currently seeking patients willing to participate in a face-transplant clinical trial and to be followed for five years after their surgery.
Candidates for the clinical trial will undergo a thorough evaluation to determine whether they meet the criteria for participation. The evaluation includes a comprehensive medical history, a physical examination, lab tests, X-rays and a psychological exam. Approved participants will be placed on a waiting list until the center identifies a suitable match from a donor. Recipients must match the donor's blood type, gender, ethnicity, skin tone, hair pattern and other criteria.
Read more: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ucla-launches-first-face-transplantation-program-in-western-us-2012-05-25