Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Lightchaser Photography, File, Associated Press
FILE - These undated file photos provided Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011 by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital show chimpanzee attack victim Charla Nash after the attack, left, and post-face transplant surgery, right. The U.S. government wants to start regulating face and hand transplants just as kidneys, hearts and other organs are now. That means establishing waiting lists, a system to allocate body parts and donor testing to prevent deadly infections. Officials say this is a big step toward expanding access to these radical operations, especially for wounded troops returning home. The new rule is expected to take effect later in 2012 or early 2013.

The government wants to start regulating face and hand transplants just like kidneys, hearts and other organs. That means establishing waiting lists, a national system to allocate body parts and donor testing.

Officials call it a major step toward expanding access to these radical operations, especially for wounded troops. More than 1,000 troops have lost an arm or leg in Afghanistan or Iraq. The government estimates 200 troops might be eligible for face transplants.

At least 18 face transplants have been done since the first one in France in 2005. Over three dozen hand transplants have been performed.

The Health Resources Services Administration, which regulates organ transplants, has proposed expanding the regulation to cover other body parts. The new rules would take effect later this year or early next year.