Spare Parts

Spare Parts

Spare Parts tells the true, and frequently bloody, story of how mankind began transplanting skin, blood, teeth and organs from person to person.

It began with noses. Noses were lost frequently in the past due to duels, war injuries, criminal punishments, and venereal disease. Using tree grafting as a model, doctors used metal nose forms that were covered with a flap of skin still attached to the person’s forearm. The poor noseless person was forced to wear a metal brace for weeks holding his arm to his face. Eventually, the nose skin attached to the face and was cut from the arm. Being noseless must have been terrible if so many patients were willing to attempt this odious cure.

It may end with plants too. Some of the latest transplant ideas involve using the scaffolds of spinach plants to grow skin or grafting scaffolds from both plants and animals with human cells. I am Groot, indeed!

I began reading Spare Parts because a family member had a liver transplant recently. I never expected to be so fascinated by the history of transplants. Or to be so enchanted with its future. 4 stars!

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a digital review copy of the book.

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