Psychological Aspects of Face Transplantation

  • Kathy L. Coffman
  • Chad R. Gordon
  • Maria Z. Siemionow


The first face transplantation in France in 2005 started a new era, raising many ethical and psychological issues only speculated about before this event. Roughly 10% of the US population has some form of facial disfigurement that severely compromises the ability to lead a normal life. Face transplantation appears to decrease depression and verbal abuse that patients experience in public, improve quality of life and societal reintegration, though it may not alter anxiety, self-esteem, or sexual functioning. Furthermore, there is a critical need for modification of existing rating scales to allow effective assessment of face transplant candidates before and after transplantation. More systematic data should be collected to further examine whether the long-term physical and psychological outcomes of facial transplantation outweigh the risks of ongoing immunosuppression in a surgery that is not life saving, but may be life enhancing. Unlike solid organ transplants which are internal, and therefore “invisible,” transplantation of composite tissues, such as the face and hand, presents a very “visible” difference. Facial transplantation presents a new challenge for preoperative and post-transplant care in a vulnerable population.


Bulimia Nervosa Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Solid Organ Transplant Verbal Abuse Solid Organ Transplant Recipient 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



clinician–administered PTSD scale




Minnesota multiphasic personality inventory PTSD scale


physical appearance state and trait anxiety scale


Posttraumatic stress diagnostic scale


Posttraumatic stress disorder


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Copyright information

© Springer London 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathy L. Coffman
    • 1
  • Chad R. Gordon
  • Maria Z. Siemionow
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and PsychologyCleveland ClinicClevelandUSA

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