The New England Organ Bank has authorized a team of surgeons at a Boston hospital to perform partial facial transplants on certain patients with disfigured faces.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital is the first in the United States to receive permission for the procedure. Similar operations have been performed in France and China.

Officials say the Boston team could perform an operation as early as the next few weeks, but a recipient or donor might not be found for years.

Patients would be eligible only if they’re kidney transplant recipients who have experienced facial burns, trauma, or skin cancer that has left them with "severe facial disfigurement." Kidney transplant patients would be eligible because they already take anti-rejection drugs.