Partial Face Transplant Done in France

Sadly, Jacques Chirac was not involved.

Partial Face Transplant Done in France (AP)

Doctors have performed the world’s first partial face transplant, grafting a nose, lips and chin onto a 38-year-old woman disfigured by a dog bite, hospital officials said Wednesday. The surgery was performed Sunday, said a statement from medics at hospitals in Lyon and Amiens. The surgery was performed in Amiens in northern France, but doctors from both hospitals participated.


The hospitals’ statement said the woman was in “excellent” condition, and the transplanted organs looked “normal.” She wants to remain anonymous, the statement added. The woman was disfigured by a dog bite in May, and the injury made it difficult for her to speak and chew, the statement said. Such injuries are “extremely difficult, if not impossible” to repair using normal surgical techniques, it added. The organs were taken from a donor who was brain dead, with the family’s consent, the statement said.

Experts say the mouth and nose are the most difficult parts of the face to transplant. Doctors elsewhere have performed scalp and ear transplants.

Fascinating. The piece goes into substantial detail about the difficulties and ethical concerns involved in the procedure.

Jokes about a certain Nicolas Cage-John Travolta epic will surely be forthcoming.

Update (12/4): Face Transplant Recipient̢۪s New Face Came from Suicide

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Zeuswood says:

    Or perhaps jokes about “saving face.”

  2. John Burgess says:

    Or maybe it’ll provide a new chance for societies in which losing face is a major deal?

    But man… transplant rejection isn’t going to be pretty.

  3. Poly says:

    It would surely be banned in the US, for the sake of Homeland Security.
    Then of course there is always the race card…

    ‘What do you mean you don’t want my lips… Why, because they are African American ?’

  4. Bithead says:

    OK, let’s make an agreement right now; Nobody tell Weird Al Yankovic about this one.

  5. I always thought Chirac needed face reduction surgery, personally.