To many, the human challenge defines personhood. As soon as it is devastated beyond the with of traditional plastic or restorative surgery, a patient might lament both the loss of your appearance and straightforward functional abilities such as smiling, talking, eating, or breathing on their own.

You are watching: How much does a face transplant cost

In these rare instances, a face transplant might be the just solution that have the right to sufficiently restore the patient’s top quality of life and also function.

Cleveland Clinic challenge transplant evolution

A face transplant is an intricately complicated, personalized clinical procedure that replaces as lot as 100 percent that the recipient’s face tissue through that the a deceased donor. The surgical treatment can incorporate many different functional components, such as nose and lower eyelids and also different tissue types including, skin, muscles, bony structures, arteries veins and also nerves.


Cleveland Clinic performed confront transplants on Connie Culp, Shaun Fiddler, and Katie Stubblefield (left to right). (Courtesy: Cleveland Clinic)

As of august 2018, approximately 40 face transplants have been carry out worldwide. In 2008, Cleveland Clinic came to be the an initial hospital in the United claims to carry out a near-total challenge transplant, and remains one of just six U.S. Organizations to have performed the operation procedure.

Cleveland Clinic doctors performed the early 22-hour procedure top top a 40-year-old woman who suffered serious facial injuries native a gunshot to the face. A Cleveland Clinic operation team integrated functional facial components and numerous tissue types, including skin, muscles, bony structures, arteries, veins and nerves – encompassing around 77 square inch of transplanted tissue.

Prior to experience her confront transplant, the patient no able to eat heavy foods, drink indigenous a cup, or breathe v her nose. She made decision to experience the transformative surgery after dozens that other procedures failed to regain her kind and function.

The 2nd Cleveland Clinic face transplant developed in 2014, a 24.5-hour surgical procedure on a middle-aged man who suffered major facial trauma and other symptom from a motorcycle accident. In this instance, nine surgeons and numerous professionals transplanted about two-thirds the the scalp and replaced about 90 percent the the patient’s face.

Previously, the patience underwent multiple rebuild surgeries to improve facial kind and function. But he was still missing the middle section of his face and also forehead, had minimal function in one eye, and had challenge breathing and speaking. Thus, he was willing to i think the risk associated with a face transplant together his only remaining choice to gain back some degree of normalcy come his life.

“Can friend live without a face?” frank Papay, M.D., chairman the the dermatology & Plastic surgery Institute at Cleveland Clinic, asked rhetorically in ~ the time. “Yes. However it’s an extremely difficult, and not a good quality that life. Having actually a confront to confront the people is more than likely one the the more important functions we have as human being beings communicating with every other.”

Most recently, in 2017, a team of 11 Cleveland Clinic surgeons and also multiple experts performed the hospital’s third face transplant – and its an initial total confront transplant – top top 21-year-old Katie Stubblefield, a woman that suffered severe facial trauma and also other complications from a gunshot wound as a teenager.

RELATED: roadway to Recovery: woman is Youngest patient in United states to Receive challenge Transplant

She is the youngest patience in the U.S. To obtain a challenge transplant. Youth deserve to be an advantage for a successful transplant since the patient is typically much more robust, and potentially has actually many more years to benefit from the operation transformation.

At 21, Katie is the youngest human in the U.S. To obtain a confront transplant.A year later, she’s top top the road to recovery. Https://

— glossesweb.comNews (
CleClinicNews) respectable 15, 2018

Due come the degree of the woman’s injuries, the painstakingly planned and orchestrated procedure was among the many extensive ever attempted. It affiliated transplantation that the scalp, forehead, upper and also lower eyelids, eye sockets, nose, upper cheeks, upper jaw and half of the lower jaw, top teeth, reduced teeth, partial face nerves, face muscles, and skin — successfully replacing 100 percent of she facial tissue.

And a landmark aspect of the 31-hour procedure to be the usage of techniques and also technologies – such as surgical rehearsal, 3D printing and also virtual reality – together the main platforms for preoperative planning.

Transformative technology

These pioneering communication – not yet invented or honed during the ahead transplants — assisted optimize the accuracy, aesthetic and also functional outcomes.

According come Brian Gastman, M.D., a plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist, the Cleveland Clinic’s multidisciplinary challenge transplant team is very collaborative, and continually looks for to find out from vault procedures and also innovations to improve on its procedure – and also patient results.

“I think ours team method is somewhat different than at other institutions. It’s much bigger, both surgically and also non-surgically, v multiple redundancies developed into our process,” Dr. Gastman noted. “We shot not to be very dependent on just one or two people.”

RELATED: how Augmented truth Shaped Cleveland Clinic’s complete Face Transplant

One that the most transformative advancements used successfully during the 2017 procedure to be HoloLens, the first self-contained mixed-reality computer headset that permits users to watch holograms amid their surroundings. According to Dr. Papay, the HoloLens was helpful in practicing various aspects of the surgical treatment – over and also over and over again – before actually performing it on the patient.


Kihyun Cho, M.D., a member of Cleveland Clinic’s face transplant surgical team, supplies HoloLens for preoperative confront transplant surgery planning, for Katie Stubblefield’s surgery. (Courtesy: Cleveland Clinic)

“Our biomedical engineers were may be to create a virtual version of the patient’s face, where you deserve to see whatever – consisting of the bone structure and blood vessels,” the said. “With the HoloLens on, you have the right to virtually walk around and ‘see’ inside the patient’s face. It’s the following level of operation modeling.”

An unconventional facet of the Cleveland Clinic’s most recent procedure connected the use of 3D modeling to rebuild the patient’s jaw. Utilizing a 3D computed tomography (CT) scan the the patient’s similar-looking sister, a 3D modeling firm developed an elaborate model the the patient’s jaw designed native the sister’s anatomy. Based upon that, Dr. Gastman and team created and implanted a “new” jaw, using bone indigenous the patient’s leg.


Cleveland Clinic surgeons use 3D modeling to help plan for challenge transplant surgery. (Courtesy: Cleveland Clinic)

Further, ongoing advancements in the specialty locations associated with face transplants are additionally helping breakthrough the field. In addition to plastic surgeons, the substantial team overseeing the complicated procedure consists of specialists in anesthesiology, bioethics, dentistry, ophthalmology, endocrinology, transmittable disease, psychiatry, pharmacy and transplantation medicine.

What’s next?

While the technical facets of confront transplant surgery are now well-honed by the Cleveland Clinic team, an ongoing worry is one common to all forms of organ transplant: the possibility of rejection.

RELATED: nationwide Geographic: exactly how a Transplanted face Transformed a Young Woman’s Life

As with any organ transplant, the patients are inserted on lifelong immunosuppressive drugs. Thus, part members the the Cleveland Clinic team – consisting of plastic operated doctor Bahar Bassiri Gharb, M.D., Ph.D. – are conducting study into new ways to much more accurately and noninvasively measure up the body’s yongin or intolerance of facial transplants. Such efforts to conquer the hurdle of requiring immune suppression, and also the potential side impacts of the medications needed to prevent rejection, will certainly be another transformative milestone in the challenge transplant field.

It take it years that preparation and also dozens of clinical personnel to perform Cleveland Clinic’s first total #facetransplant. Https://

— glossesweb.comNews (
CleClinicNews) respectable 15, 2018

“A face transplant is a technological feat, but it’s now well accepted that it have the right to be done,” defined Dr. Papay. “The an essential issue is: exactly how do you prevent unavoidable rejection? room we walking to at some point figure out means to improve tissue tolerance? If we deserve to solve that problem, it opens up a world of great for a many patients. That’s yes, really the divine Grail.”

Dr. Gastman and also his colleagues are also hopeful the successful outcomes of the 3 Cleveland Clinic challenge transplants, and others transparent the U.S., will quickly prompt Medicare/Medicaid and also private insurers to cover the procedures. To date, most confront transplants have actually been supported by the U.S. Department of Defense’s equipped Forces academy of Regenerative medication I (AFIRM I) provide program, i beg your pardon is draft to assist improve the treatment of U.S. Organization members wounded top top the battlefield.

“This isn’t travel to the moon. It’s not something us do simply to to speak we deserve to make history, and also then relocate on to something else,” Dr. Gastman exuded. “We know there are an ext people who will need it.”

CleClinicNews on Twitter because that the latest stories on inspiring patients, clinical innovation and also breakthrough research.

For Media: room you interested in repurposing this story for her platforms? walk for it! We want to share compelling Cleveland Clinic news with as many civilization as possible. Feel complimentary to usage our reporting, photos and graphics.

See more: How Much Vitamin B6 To Take For Morning Sickness With Unisom And Vitamin B6

Download confront transplant related high-quality photos, videos, animation, and also graphics.