The 10 Most Shocking Face Transplants Ever Performed


“Hey nerd, get a new face!” is something an obnoxious brat might have said to the smartest kid in class 15 years ago. Today, face transplants no longer belong to the realm of science fiction and elementary school bullies. Nope. In fact, in the past 10 years, 28 faces have been removed from the bodies of dead people and put onto living humans.

Believe it or not, nerve endings grow into transplanted facial skin. Believe it or not, a dead person’s nose can be grafted onto a living human’s body, and THEN, used to smell. Smell. The sense of smell, surgically recreated by doctors!

Since the first face transplant performed in 2005, the act of rejuvenating a face has come under criticism for ethical concerns. Unlike organ transplants, victims of facial destruction can live without a face. The risks of undergoing a facial transplant include death, as well as severe illness, and at the very least, it requires that a patient take immune system stabilizing drugs for the remainder of their lives. Many question whether the benefit of having a face and a few additional senses is worth the risk of a complicated and risky procedure.

Aside from ethics, a face transplant is expensive. It costs upwards of $500,000. It requires the effort of 30 – 150 doctors. Once the procedure is complete, patients must consume $38,574 in drugs yearly for the remainder of their lives.

Despite ethical concerns and the exorbitant cost of facial transplants, since 2005, several sensational procedures have been performed. Here are the 10 most noteable.

10. Isabelle Dinoire – First Partial Face Transplant in History



The first face transplant in global history took place in Amiens, France in 2005. It was performed on 46 year old Isabelle Dinoire.

One evening, Isabelle took a large dosage of sleeping pills. Although some have accused her of attempting to take her own life, she contends that she accidentally overdosed. While she was asleep, her black Labrador when at her face. When she came to, she glanced in the mirror, and to her horror, saw part of her face was missing.

After initially healing from the disaster, Isabelle met with doctors Bernard Devauchelle and Jean-Michel Dubernard. They agreed to attempt to give her a face transplant using the tissue of a woman who died in a nearby city.

Isabelle received new bone marrow cells, facial skin, a nose, and a chin. When the surgery concluded, her body accepted the new tissue for the first three months. By the first year, Isabelle experienced two tissue rejections, and began taking suppressant drugs to prevent her body from rejecting her face.

The procedure was more or less successful, and to this day marks a surgical turning point in history.

9. Oscar – First Full Face Transplant in history