Dr. Ron Zuker was featured in the Globe and Mail recently with regards to Canada’s first face and upper limb transplants.
Specialists in Toronto are gearing up to perform Canada’s first face and limb transplants, experimental procedures that push the boundaries of accepted surgical practice and can bolster the reputations of the doctors and institutions that perform them.
Provided they receive approval from hospital administrators, surgeons at the University Health Network and the Hospital for Sick Children hope to perform the first surgeries early next year and then do about five face transplants and up to 25 upper limb transplants a year.
The techniques are still risky and highly controversial. But doctors in Toronto say the surgeries are now far enough advanced that they believe they can go ahead with them safely. At the same time, the area is still so young they can position themselves as leaders in a rapidly growing field.
“That’s what we’re here for is to explore new techniques,” said Ron Zuker, a plastic surgeon at the Hospital for Sick Children and co-director of the face and limb transplant program. “I think anybody who does it almost automatically is a leader.”