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World J Transplant. 2016 Mar 24;6(1):91-102. doi: 10.5500/wjt.v6.i1.91.

Key psychosocial challenges in vascularized composite allotransplantation.

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Martin Kumnig, Department of Medical Psychology, Center for Advanced Psychology in Plastic and Transplant Surgery, Innsbruck Medical University, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


Psychosocial factors are important elements in the assessment and follow-up care for vascularized composite allotransplantation (VCA) and require multidisciplinary evaluation protocols. This review will highlight differences between VCA with solid organ transplantation (SOT), provide information on the psychosocial selection of VCA candidates, ethical issues, psychological outcomes, and on the need for multicenter research. VCA is primarily a life-enhancing procedure to improve recipients' quality of life and psychological well-being and it represents a potential option to provide reproduction in case of penile or uterine transplantation. The risk benefit ratio is distinctly different than SOT with candidates desiring life enhancing outcomes including improved body image, return to occupations, restored touch, and for uterine transplant, pregnancy. The Chauvet Workgroup has been convened with membership from a number of transplant centers to address these issues and to call for multicenter research. A multicenter research network would share similar evaluation approaches so that meaningful research on psychosocial variables could inform the transplant community and patients about factors that increase risk of non-adherence and other adverse psychosocial and medical outcomes.


Motivation; Psychological evaluation; Psychosocial outcomes; Quality of life; Vascularized composite allotransplantation

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