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Facial transplants 'cost effective'

The cost of a full facial transplant, even in a complicated case, is similar to that of multiple conventional reconstructions.

This is according to a new study published in the American Journal of Transplantation.

It looked at a 46-year-old female Caucasian patient who had suffered form significant facial trauma, following a shotgun blast.

Surgeons from the Department of Plastic Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic, led by Maria Siemionow, conducted the assessment of the woman.

It was confirmed that she underwent a total of 23 separate, traditional reconstructive operations.

Then in December 2008 she became the recipient of the first US face transplant, providing researchers with the "unique opportunity to analyse the cost of the transplant compared with the 23 surgeries".

Dr Siemionow commented: "Although the cost of facial transplantation is considerable, the alleviation of psychological and physiological suffering, exceptional functional recovery and fulfilment of long-lasting hope for social reintegration may be priceless."

The multiple reconstructive procedures were found to cost $354,480, while the face transplantation came in at $349,959.

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Facial transplants 'cost effective'
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