Face-Off Surgery

Three years ago, Isabelle Dinoire took some sleeping pills. When she woke up there was blood on the ground, the Telegraph writes. She went to light a cigarette, and discovered her nose, mouth and chin were missing, ripped off by her dog in her sleep. Transplant surgeon Jean-Michel Dubernard said, “Once I had seen Isabelle’s disfigured face, no more needed to be said. I was convinced something had to be done for this patient.” He transplanted parts of a donor’s face onto hers. Dinoire regained feeling in her face, but three years later, the French mother of two said of her face, referring to the dead donor, “It’s not hers, it’s not mine, it’s somebody else’s.” Dinoire is still not completely used to the new face, although, “It's part of me. I have the feeling of looking at something beautiful, I accept looking at myself now, but it was wasn't easy at the beginning.” Doctors at the Royal Free Hospital in London will consider the psychological ramifications of face transplants, such as those Dinoire experienced, now that the British ethics board has given them permission to perform the world’s first full-face transplant.