Face as an Organ: The Functional Anatomy of the Face



The role of the face in the daily interactions of a person through its expression of feelings, beauty, and identity is pertaining to life. Thus, severe facial trauma and disfigurement stemming from burns, tumor resection, and congenital and acquired malformation have deleterious effects on a person’s life and expose a person to the stigmata of being different.

Face transplantation in humans, which has been performed worldwide, has raised the question of whether the face is just a “tissue” or if it is an “organ.” This issue has been approached from different perspectives by different societies, agencies, and communities. We have summarized the anatomic, physiologic, and aesthetic functions of the human face in this chapter, and we propose that the face should be accepted as an organ. Additionally, face transplantation should be considered as an organ transplantation that enhances the quality of life to a degree comparable to that of solid organ transplantations.


Parotid Gland Sebaceous Gland Facial Attractiveness Face Transplantation Aesthetic Function 


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Copyright information

© Springer London 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plastic SurgeryCleveland ClinicClevelandUSA

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