Full face transplant: the first case report

Ann Surg. 2011 Aug;254(2):252-6. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e318226a607.


Background: Since 2005, 11 human face transplants have been performed. In each, varying amounts of tissue have been transplanted. Herein we report a "full" face transplant including all intact aesthetic and functional units.

Methods: On March 27, 2010, we performed a full face transplant, including all the soft tissues and part of the underlaying bony structure, at the University Hospital Vall d'Hebron, Barcelona, Spain. The donor was a 41-year-old male, who died from a massive brain hemorrhage. The recipient was a 30-year-old male with a severe facial deformity caused by a ballistic trauma in 2005. Harvest and subsequent implant took 24 hours. The patient received initial induction (Thymoglobulin 2 mg/kg/iv; Prednisone 1 gm/iv) and maintenance (Prednisone 1 mg/kg/24hours, Tacrolimus 10-15 ng/mL/PO, and Mycophenolate mofetil 2g/daily/PO) immunosuppression and Infection prophylaxis (Valganciclovir and Co-trimoxazole).

Results: There were no intraoperative complications. Postoperative complications included; venous anastomoses thrombosis, acute oro-cutaneous fistula, right parotid sialocele and 2 acute rejection episodes, which were resolved by revision of the anastomosis, profuse irrigation and immunotherapy adjustment, respectively. The patient was discharged from the hospital at 4 months posttransplant with; near-total sensation and partial-motor recovery, no psychological complications and excellent acceptance of his new facial appearance.

Conclusions: The early success described in this case report demonstrates the technical and clinical feasibility of transplanting all the tissues of the with all its aesthetic and functional units intact.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Esthetics
  • Facial Injuries / surgery*
  • Facial Transplantation / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Graft Rejection / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Microsurgery / methods
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Postoperative Care
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery
  • Reoperation
  • Spain
  • Tissue Donors
  • Tissue and Organ Harvesting / methods
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • Wound Healing / physiology
  • Wounds, Gunshot / surgery*


  • Immunosuppressive Agents