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A Position Paper in Support of Face Transplantation in the Blind

Carty, Matthew J. M.D.; Bueno, Ericka M. Ph.D.; Lehmann, Lisa S. M.D., Ph.D.; Pomahac, Bohdan M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: August 2012 - Volume 130 - Issue 2 - p 319–324
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3182589b27
Reconstructive: Head and Neck: Original Articles

Summary: Facially disfigured blind patients have historically been considered for face transplantation with skepticism. Although no formal position paper regarding their exclusion has been published to date, functional, social, rehabilitative, and ethical concerns related to blind patients' candidacy for face transplantation may be inferred. The authors provide a summary of these reservations and a counterargument to their assumptions, drawing on outcomes measures reported for face transplant procedures performed to date, and their own institutional experience in performing face transplants on blind patients. The authors therefore provide a rationale for the inclusion of facially disfigured blind patients in face transplantation protocols in the future.

Jamaica Plain and Boston, Mass.

From the Division of Plastic Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital/Faulkner Hospital, and the Center for Bioethics and Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Received for publication December 5, 2011; accepted February 21, 2012.

Disclosure: The authors have no conflicting financial interest related to the work detailed in this article.

Matthew J. Carty, M.D.; Brigham and Women's Hospital Division of Plastic Surgery at Faulkner Hospital, 1153 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, Mass. 02130,

©2012American Society of Plastic Surgeons