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Am J Transplant. 2011 Feb;11(2):367-78. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2010.03406.x.

Feasibility, reproducibility, risks and benefits of face transplantation: a prospective study of outcomes.

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Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Henri Mondor Hospital, Assistance Publique-Hopitaux de Paris, Créteil, France.


Composite tissue allotransplantations can be indicated when autologous transfers fail to restore human appearance. We report the reproducibility, difficulties, serious adverse events and outcomes of our patients. Five patients were included in a registered clinical research protocol after thorough screenings assessed by an independent expert committee systematically discussing the alternative options. One patient suffered from plexiform neurofibromas, two from third degree burns and two from gunshot injuries. They were included on a national waiting list with a dedicated face procurement procedure. Transplants were harvested from heart beating brain-dead donors before other tissues and organs. Induction immunosuppressive therapy included antithymocyte globulins, steroids, mycophenolate mophetil and tacrolimus. Maintenance therapy included the last three ones associated with extracorporeal-photopheresis. Four patients were transplanted with 7- to 38-month follow-up. One could not due to multiple panel reactive antibodies after 18 months on waiting list. Acute cellular rejections were controlled by conventional treatment. Opportunistic infections affected all patients and lead one patient to die two month after the transplantation. Voluntary facial activity appeared from 3 to 5 month. Face transplantation has been reproducible under conventional immunosuppression. Major improvements in facial aesthetic and function allowed patients to recover social relations and improved their quality of life.

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