Face Transplant Could Be Cost-Effective

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Other organs like the kidney can be removed and the patient temporized until retransplantation, but what reconstructive options exist and the possible morbidity and mortality aren't clear for face transplant, the Cleveland Clinic team acknowledged.

The single-patient case study findings may not generalize to other patients, institutions, or countries, and objective cost comparisons couldn't be done, making the cost conclusions only speculative, the researchers warned.

But the financial considerations don't tell the whole story, they added.

"Given the face's ... role in societal acceptance, it is impossible to truly quantify the value of this procedure using monetary means as it has immensely improved our patient's overall quality of life, thus leading to significant reductions in both psychological and physiological anguish," they concluded in the paper.

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