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.