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Last Updated: Wednesday October 25 2006 14:22 GMT

Face transplants to happen in UK

Isabelle Dinoire

Doctors in the UK have been given permission to carry out the first ever full face transplant.

Loads of types of transplant operations happen everyday but face transplants have never been allowed in the UK until now.

Because it's a very difficult operation face transplants will only be given to people who have been badly injured.

In 2005 a French woman was the first person to have a partial transplant after she was attacked by her dog.

Doctors took the mouth, nose and chin from someone who had died and reconnected them to Isabelle Dinoire's face.

And earlier this year man in China had part of his face transplanted after he was mauled by a bear.

Worries

What happens in a face transplant?
Isabelle Dinoire, who had a partial face transplant in 2005
Skin, fat and blood vessels removed from the face of a dead person
They are reconnected to the person getting the new face
The operation takes about 14 hours
The patient with the new face has to take special drugs to stop their body rejecting the new skin
Experts have said they are worried that people who have a face transplant won't be able to cope with walking around with someone else's face.

But doctors have said the person who has the transplant will look different because they will still have their own face shape.

About 30 people have said they are interested in having the op and it's thought the first one will take place in a few months.

But the operation will not be carried out on children until they're old enough to decide for themselves.



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