Newswise — February 6, 2023 – At a time of devastating grief, family members of facial transplant donors face a range of difficult challenges – from the unexpected donation request, to unique issues related to the donor's identity, to an onslaught of media attention, reports a study in The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery. The journal, under the guidance of Editor-in-Chief Mutaz B. Habal, MD, is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.
Anthony Verfaillie, MD, Kim De Corte, PhD, and colleagues of University Hospital Ghent, Belgium, report an "interpretive phenomenological analysis" of the experience of family members of the deceased tissue donor for Belgium's first facial transplant. "The findings of our study help to better support donor families through the facial donation process and to improve facial transplantation procedures," the authors write.
Analysis identifies key themes in experiences of facial transplant donors' families
To gain insights into how family members are affected by the complex process of facial transplantation, the researchers interviewed the parents and a sibling of the deceased facial transplant donor. Analysis of the interviews identified six key themes:
The study is the first to focus on the experiences of family members going through the facial transplantation process. The identified themes raise awareness of what's similar and what's different in comparing facial transplantation with more common organ transplants. Consistent with previous studies of the families of deceased organ donors, Drs. Verfaillie and De Corte and colleagues write: "The donation process had a positive influence on personal grief and on the experienced powerlessness of the family members, providing a supportive or comforting feeling."
Read [Facial Allograft Donation: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the Experiences of Family Members]
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About The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery
The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery serves as a forum of communication for all those involved in craniofacial and maxillofacial surgery. Coverage ranges from practical aspects of craniofacial surgery to the basic science that underlies surgical practice. Affiliates include 14 major specialty societies around the world, including the American Association of Pediatric Plastic Surgeons, the American Academy of Pediatrics Section of Pediatric Plastic Surgery, the American Society of Craniofacial Surgeons, the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons, the Argentine Society of Plastic Surgery Section of Pediatric Plastic Surgery, the Asian Pacific Craniofacial Association, the Association of Military Plastic Surgeons of the U.S., the Brazilian Society of Craniofacial Surgeons, the European Society of Craniofacial Surgery, the International Society of Craniofacial Surgery, the Japanese Society of Craniofacial Surgery, the Korean Society of Craniofacial Surgery, the Thai Cleft and Craniofacial Association, and the World Craniofacial Foundation.
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