Since the first facial transplantation in 2005, 28 have been done worldwide with encouraging immunological, functional, psychological, and aesthetic outcomes. Unlike solid organ transplantation, which is potentially life-saving, facial transplantation is life-changing. This difference has generated ethical concerns about the exposure of otherwise young and healthy individuals to the sequelae of lifelong, high-dose, multidrug immunosuppression. Nevertheless, advances in immunomodulatory and immunosuppressive protocols, microsurgical techniques, and computer-aided surgical planning have enabled broader clinical application of this procedure to patients. Although episodes of acute skin rejection continue to pose a serious threat to face transplant recipients, all cases have been controlled with conventional immunosuppressive regimens, and no cases of chronic rejection have been reported.
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