Activity ID



March 31, 2021

Format Type

Journal-based CME

CME Credit



CME Provider

American Medical Association


Facial disfigurement can significantly affect personal identity and access to social roles. Although conventional reconstruction can have positive effects with respect to identity, these procedures are often inadequate for more severe facial defects. In these cases, facial transplantation (FT) offers patients a viable reconstructive option. However, FT’s effect on personal identity has been less well examined, and ethical questions remain regarding the psychosocial ramifications of the procedure. This article reviews the literature on the different roles of the face as well as psychological and social effects of facial disfigurement. The effects of facial reconstruction on personal identity are also reviewed with an emphasis on orthognathic, cleft, and head and neck surgery. Finally, FT is considered in this context, and future directions for research are explored.


1. This activity is part of the AMA Journal of Ethics.
2. This activity is free to AMA members.

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NOTE: If a Member Board has not deemed this activity for MOC approval as an accredited CME activity, this activity may count toward an ABMS Member Board’s general CME requirement. Please refer directly to your Member Board’s MOC Part II Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment Program Requirements.

Educational Objectives

1. Explain a new or unfamiliar viewpoint on a topic of ethical or professional conduct.
2. Evaluate the usefulness of this information for his or her practice, teaching, or conduct.
3. Decide whether and when to apply the new information to his or her practice, teaching, or conduct.


Ethics, Facial Plastic Surgery, Head and Neck Reconstruction, Otolaryngology, Facial Reconstruction


Medical Knowledge, Professionalism

CME Credit Type

AMA PRA Category 1 Credit

Additional Information


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