The UK Facial Transplantation Team lead by plastic and reconstruction surgeon, Mr Peter Butler, has welcomed the report by the RCS working party. Mr Butler said he was ‘very pleased’ that the teams’ submission that any hospital contemplating facial transplantation operations should have to meet a number of tough conditions before going ahead, has been adopted by the working party.
“We have repeatedly said that potential transplantation teams must meet a number of very stringent conditions before being able to carry out the operation. So we are very pleased that the Royal College working party has agreed with us,” said Mr Butler.
“The Working Party?s report is a good document and it reflects exactly the way we have been approaching our research; moving forward cautiously with full knowledge,” he said.
“We have carried out exhaustive research into the selection, evaluation and education of patients and we have set the gold standard for the consent process,” said Mr Butler. “We will continue to take a long term and cautious approach.”
The UK Facial Transplantation Team, based at The Royal Free Hospital in North London, last month received full ethical permission to select and evaluate patients and to carry out four face transplant operations as part of its research programme.
So far the team has been approached by over 30 potential patients but a shortlist has yet to be finalised. It is unlikely that a transplant operation will be carried out for six months to a year.