The UK`s first full face transplant might happen within a year, the leader of the UK facial transplantation research team has said.
Professor Peter Butler was speaking after the first such transplant was carried out in the US, itself only the fourth in the world.
He said: “We hope to make an announcement about this within the next 12 months.”
His team at the Royal Free Hospital in London has permission for a research programme of four transplants.
In the US, the Cleveland Clinic announced on Tuesday that Dr Maria Siemionow had replaced 80% of a woman’s face with that of a dead female donor.
Said Professor Butler: “This latest operation once again shows how facial transplantation can help a particular group of the most severely facially injured people, for whom reconstructive surgery has not worked and those who are unable to live a normal life.
“Our thoughts are very much with the family of the donor who, we understand, has helped not only the facial transplantation patient, but others, with various forms of organ donation.
“This courage and generosity in helping others not only live but have a good life, is one the greatest acts of human generosity.”
Copyright Press Association 2008