Living in L.A., you know someone, someday will turn this into an opportunity to finally make Joan Rivers attractive.

For now, UCLA's foray into the face transplant business seems inspired by disfigured war veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The university announced this week that it is establishing the first such surgery lab in the western United States — the UCLA Face Transplantation Program.

To celebrate, it sent us this creepy video:

The school says it's looking for people who need new faces to participate in a 5-year clinical trial. It's still a risky procedure, UCLA doctors say.

Immune-suppressing drugs must be taken for the rest of a patient's life, surgery takes up to 20 hours, and you get to look at some dead person's face in the mirror when it's all over.

Well, something like that. UCLA:

Final appearance will be a hybrid between the donor and recipient.


Even with all that goodness, the university expects a waiting list. About 200 veterans have lost some or parts of their faces, according to UCLA.

Nineteen facial transplants have been done worldwide to date, with only five in the U.S., so if UCLA gets this off the ground it will become kind of a big deal.

Dr. Reza Jarrahy, surgical co-director of the new program:

Our goal in creating this program is to return a sense of normalcy to our patients' lives.

We're not sure that carrying around someone else's face is normal, but it probably beats a hole in your head.

[@dennisjromero / / @LAWeeklyNews]

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