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How is a face transplant performed?

Arthur W. Perry, MD
Plastic Surgery
Face transplants take over a dozen hours to perform and cost over a quarter of a million dollars. This procedure blends science with artistry. Teams of specialized plastic surgeons called microsurgeons hook up blood vessels, nerves, muscle, and even bone between the patient and the face that has been donated usually from trauma victims. Following surgery, their bodies must heal and join the nerves to the transplanted face -- only then can the face move and feel sensation. And to do that, patients trade their deformity for a lifetime of drugs that suppress immune system. Those with vision face the unique challenge of staring at another person in the mirror every day.

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