Ethical and Policy Concerns of Hand/Face Transplantation

  • Rhonda Gay Hartman

Early in the nineteenth century, surgeons in Edinburgh excised a tumor from Robert Penman's lower jaw that had caused severe disfigurement of his face. A remarkable surgical innovation at the time, the patient not only survived but remained in excellent health for many years. Since then, phenomenal strides in composite tissue allograft have revolutionized reconstructive surgery. Success in hand transplantation prepared the way for the first partial face transplant in November 2005. These innovations are intended to optimize quality of life for a small, select group of patients whose “conditions cannot be adequately addressed by conventional reconstructive surgery procedures.”


Policy Concern Presume Consent Facial Tissue Hippocratic Oath Composite Tissue 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rhonda Gay Hartman
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Bioethics and Health LawUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburgh

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