For Face Transplant Patients, Selection Criteria Could Stiffen in Future

But while today's face transplant recipients may face fewer selection criteria than those who need a liver, heart or kidney, Rhodes said this may not be the case in the future.

"As more face transplants are completed successfully, the demand for the treatment will increase and the available facial tissue will become a scarce resource," she said. "Then, principles of justice should be used to govern the allocation."

Cronin agreed.

"I would predict that as facial transplantation becomes more popular, the selection criteria will evolve to insure the appropriate care and success of the composite tissue transplant," he said. "Although the face may not be a scarce or life-saving 'organ' in the same sense that solid organs are, the expense and investment in the procedure will require a similar selection process with the possible requirement of additional increased psychological scrutiny."

Meanwhile, Maki said that though he was aware the story has been the subject of much media attention, he wished to live quietly and privately.

"I now see this chance as a way to start fresh," he said. "I just appreciate that I have the chance to start a new life, because the first part of my life was nothing but trouble."

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