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Face transplant

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MadArchitect

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Face transplant

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www.nytimes.com/2005/12/01/health/01face.htmlLooks like the French were the first to partially transplant a face. That's right: a face! Any thoughts?
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Chris OConnor

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Re: Face transplant

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I watched a show on this the other day and am excited about the possibilities. Life is brutal to people that have deformities and permanent scarring. It would be nice if they could have a second lease on life by getting rid of that superficial layer that prevents them from being accepted by society.
MadArchitect

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Re: Face transplant

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I agree with that, although, there are worrisome complexities.For one, and this is speculative, such proceedures may make it easier for people to assume new identities.For another, I wonder if there aren't some psychological consequences to the proceedure. There are psychological consequences to nearly any surgery, of course, but we tend to make certain associations with faces that we don't make with, say, a finger or a colon.But I suppose you have to weigh boon versus bane, and for people with serious disfigurations, it may be worth some psychological confusion to not have the stigma of severe facial scarring.
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Chris OConnor

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Re: Face transplant

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Quote:For one, and this is speculative, such proceedures may make it easier for people to assume new identities.From what I heard on that special the new face will not look like the person from which is was removed. Our faces are really a product of the underlying bone structure. But I'm sure we don't really know this for sure.
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Re: Face transplant

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That's correct, Chris - bone, cartilage and muscle development is what creates the facial characteristics.However, my concern is that we will developa lazy form of discrimination, inthat we will expect those with disfigurements to undergo this hazardous surgery, and we may begin to make less effort to simply accept them as they are.No one should have to undergo any procedure to spare the blushes of another. _________________________________________________________Il Sotto Seme La Neva
MadArchitect

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Re: Face transplant

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Chris OConnor: From what I heard on that special the new face will not look like the person from which is was removed. Our faces are really a product of the underlying bone structure.So far the procedures has only involved partial transplant, which means that the subject's face is still largely their own. And I'm not terribly concerned about the ramifications of face transplants as it applies to people with legitimate reconstructive concerns. But let's imagine a scenario.Imagine that this technique had existed at the close of World War II , and that it had been available in Nazi Germany. Regardless of whether or not they could have assumed another person's identity, Nazi war criminals might have used the technique to assume new identities, and could have thus avoided capture and trial.Of course, there have always been ways to change one's identity to varying degrees. I'm just entertaining the possibility that this could represent a further development in our ability to completely discard old physical identities and assume new ones, with all of the attendent complications to which that gives rise.
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Chris OConnor

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Re: Face transplant

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That is a very legitimate concern.
MadArchitect

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Re: Face transplant

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Looks like the incident has been somewhat complicated. The New York Times is now reporting that both the donor and the recipient of the partial face transplant may have been attempted suicides -- one a successful hanging, the other an unsuccessful overdose leading to a mauling by the family dog. Confirmation on the story is tricky, with some seemingly reputable sources saying that they patients were not suicides, others saying that they were, and some of the doctors disclaiming knowledge one way or the other.If true, the story brings into question the ethics of proceeding with the operation, when the recipient of the transplant may have been too psychologically imbalanced to give reliable consent.
sandor at the zoo

Re: Face transplant

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Quote:That is a very legitimate concern.I disagree.Face transplants are very, very, very unlikely to become a routine procedure anytime in the forseeable future. The human face is a phenomanally complex maze of nerve, blood vessel, muscle, and skin tissue. Infection and rejection are huge and potentially horrifying dangers to anyone undergoing the process; only the most desperate of individuals would attempt such a risky transplant.Routine plastic surgery - already widely accepted - is a far easier way to change the way one looks. If you present identity-alteration as a concern against facial transplants, you should oppose plastic surgery by several orders of magnitude more. Breast implants in particular ... GIs never would have even looked at Hitler's face if he'd been sporting a pair of double-Ds.Honestly, I think that both identity and psycological concerns are a bit hysterical and / or silly here. The only people undergoing the procedure will be those with such horrible facial scaring that it makes the frightening risks seem worthwhile. And while I certainly agree that we should accept people as they are without regard to physical appearance, I would never dare to moralize against a disfigured person for doing whatever they can to cure their condition. It's all well and good to speak of acceptance when you have a normal, healthy face to look at in the mirror every morning ... if children ran away from you screaming when you looked at them, you might feel differently.My thoughts and good hopes are with those who are in need of such a procedure. If medical science can help them, it should do so.S More dangerous ideas like this at The Zoo.http://the-zoo.blogspot.com/
MadArchitect

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Re: Face transplant

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You're probably right, Sandor, but I don't mind bringing up potential issues if there's any chance that they might lead to fruitful consideration of something new. I don't mind being shown where I'm wrong, so long as it leads to a clearer understanding of the world around us.
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