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Peter Butler
Born Peter Edward Michael Butler
1 September 1962 (1962-09-01) (age 47)
Residence London, England
Occupation surgeon, scientist,
Employer Royal Free Hospital, London, England

Peter E M Butler, FRCSI, FRCS (born 1 September 1962) is Professor of plastic surgery at University College London, consultant plastic surgeon, clinical director of surgery and head of the face transplantation team at the Royal Free Hospital in London, England.


Education and training

He is a graduate of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Physicians of Ireland obtaining diplomas MB BCh LRCPSI in 1987. He did his general surgical training in Dublin and became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (FRCS) in 1991 and the Royal College of Surgeons of England (FRCS) in 1992. He has an active clinical and laboratory based research program. One of his main areas of research is facial transplantation. The work he has been involved in has received awards from the New England Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, the Plastic Surgery Research Council, USA and the British Association of Plastic Surgeons.

Face transplantation

Peter Butler began the experimental work leading towards facial transplantation in 1993 at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, this work continues today. On returning to the UK he set up the clinical research programme in facial transplantation in 2002.[1] This programme was one of the first in the world. Two other teams existed at that time one at Louisville, Kentucky, USA and the other at the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, USA. In 2004 a team led by Dr. Maria Siemionow at the Cleveland Clinic became the first institution to approve this surgery.[2] There was considerable resistance to facial transplantation taking place in the UK.[3] In October 2006, after overcoming the ethical hurdles Peter Butler's team received permission from the North London Research Ethics Committee to go ahead with a series of four full face transplant operations to be carried out at the Royal Free Hospital.[4] Some news outlets have speculated that their team is likely to be the first to perform such a transplant.[5] [6] However, Dr. Butler stated in an October 27 press release that their team "will not be rushed" and "It may be many months before we are ready to carry out an operation.”[4] The costs of the operation is to be funded by a charity, 'The Face Trust", set up by Peter Butler in 2006.[7] Patient selection for facial transplantation is currently ongoing.

Personal life

Peter is married to Annabel Heseltine, well known daughter of former British deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine. He has four children, Mungo, Isabella, Rafferty and Monty.

He is the eldest son of Professor Norman Butler the former head of the school of Dentistry at Trinity College Dublin.

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