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Clin Transplant. 2013 Nov-Dec;27(6):781-9. doi: 10.1111/ctr.12243. Epub 2013 Sep 16.

Current concepts and systematic review of vascularized composite allotransplantation of the abdominal wall.

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The Department of Plastic Surgery, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.



Abdominal wall vascularized composite allotransplantation (AW-VCA) is a rarely utilized technique for large composite abdominal wall defects. The goal of this article is to systematically review the literature and current concepts of AW-VCA, outline the challenges ahead, and provide an outlook for the future.


Systematic review of the literature was performed using MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PubMed to identify relevant articles discussing results of AW-VCA. Cadaver and animal studies were excluded from the systematic review, but selectively included in the discussion.


The resultant five papers report their results on AW-VCA(Transplantation, 85, 2008, 1607; Am J Transplant, 7, 2007, 1304; Transplant Proc, 41, 2009, 521; Transplant Proc, 36, 2004, 1561; Lancet, 361, 2003, 2173). These papers represent the result of two study groups in which a total of 18 AW-VCA were performed in 17 patients. Two different operative approaches were used. Overall flap/graft survival was 88%. No mortality related to the transplant was reported. One cadaver study and two animal models were identified and separately presented (Transplant Proc, 43, 2011, 1701; Transplantation, 90, 2010, 1590; Journal of Surgical Research, 162, 2010, 314).


Literature review reports AW-VCA is technically feasible with low morbidity and mortality. Functional outcomes are not reported and minimally considered. With advancements in vascularized composite allotransplantation research and decreasing toxicity of immunosuppression therapies and immunomodulatory regimens, AW-VCA can be applied in circumstances beyond conjunction with visceral transplantation.


abdominal wall reconstruction; abdominal wall transplant; antigenicity; immunosuppression; systematic review; tolerance; vascularized composite allotransplantation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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