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Plast Surg Nurs. 2011 Oct-Dec;31(4):151-7. doi: 10.1097/PSN.0b013e31822f6611.

A historical, clinical, and ethical overview of the emerging science of facial transplantation.

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Burn and Trauma Program, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.


In the past 5 years, a total of 16 facial transplantation surgeries have been performed in France, China, Spain, and the United States. Facial transplantation has become a surgical option in clinical situations in which soft tissue and bone loss is accompanied by severe cosmetic, sensory, and functional deficiencies due to disease, trauma, or congenital malformations. With the introduction of facial tissue transplantation surgery came complex clinical, technological, and ethical patient care issues. These complex issues included determining patient selection criteria, refining donor tissue procurement techniques, predicting expected functional outcomes, appreciating the limitations of obtaining a fully informed consent for an innovative procedure, and deliberating the immunological response and postoperative immunosuppressant requirements of the recipient. In addition, psychological implications for the patient, societal consequences, and ethical concerns have been discussed. The short-term results have been positive. Results to date indicate that the clinical, technical, and immunological patient care issues in this emerging science appear to mirror those of other reconstructive and organ transplantation procedures. The long-term physical, emotional, and psychological effects on the recipient patient, as well as long-term consequences to the donor's family, are yet to be validated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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