The idea of face transplant is not new, my Master, who is a professor in plastic surgery, said a few years ago when i worked with him, that it will be a good idea.
Technically nothing prevent it to work, even if it's a hard surgical procedure. We already know how to connect nerves, arteries and veins.
There is two big technical problems :
1) The immune system. You have to find a HLA compatible donor, and to give immune suppressive therapy (unlike the bone narrow graft). What the doctor will do if the transplant is rejected : say sorry man , we have to remove your face, the implant is rejected ...
2) The nerve connection is a hard procedure who do not work at 100 %, but i think that it may give better results than in the case of limb reimplantation or limb transplant.
There is also others problems, psychologicals ones :
- an identitity problem concerning the patient who will not recocnize himself. This procedure may not be allowed on people who are not strong psychologicaly. However some patients (for others reasons) have practiced surgery to change their face, and i don't think that they commited suicide for this reason.
- the lack of donor, most people and families are ready to give an heart , lungs, kidneys, spleen, pancreas, cornea , but the face ... Imagine that the family recocnize in the street the face of one member of their family who is dead some times ago ... and more pragmatically who will see the face removed of one member of his family ?
The transplant has been tried and been sucessfull for the hands. A Lyon (France) international team of surgeons have successfully implanted two hands transplants on a man who have lost his two hands. By succesful you must understand that he can do basic things like , filling and drinking a glass of water. ( Don't even think of typewriting fast or play music) . From what i have eard , the main problem is the immune therapy, which is big, because the skin have a strong immune potential more important than organ transplant. But for the man transplanted it was a good result. You will notice also that in case of transplant rejection, the man will return back to his previous state. That's not the case of a face transplant who suppose to remove the face of the patient even if she looks terrible.
However, it's worth a try. If my face was really terrible i mean non human, may be i will try or may be not (because i know too much about the subject : in order to have the faith you must be blind sometimes ).