The miracle of face transplantation after 10 years

Br Med Bull. 2016 Dec;120(1):5-14. doi: 10.1093/bmb/ldw045. Epub 2016 Nov 23.


Introduction: At the 10th year anniversary of the first face transplantation, there are currently 36 patients worldwide, who are the recipients of faces coming from human donors.

Areas of agreement: Despite the initial debates and ethical concerns, face transplantation became a clinical reality with satisfactory functional outcomes.

Areas of controversy: The areas of controversy still include the impact of lifelong immunosuppression on otherwise healthy patients as well as the selection process of face transplant candidates.

Growing points: Other concerns include financial support for this new generation of transplants as well as social reintegration and patients return to work after face transplantation.

Areas timely for developing research: Based on over 20 years of research experience in the field of vascularized composite allotransplantation, and clinical experience as a leading surgeon of the US first face transplantation, this review will summarize the well-known facts as well as unexpected outcomes and challenges of face transplantation.

Keywords: controversies; face transplantation; future directions; outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Body Image / psychology
  • Esthetics
  • Facial Transplantation / ethics
  • Facial Transplantation / psychology*
  • Facial Transplantation / rehabilitation
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression Therapy
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Patient Selection
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Tissue Donors / ethics*
  • Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation* / psychology
  • Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation* / rehabilitation
  • Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation* / trends