Face transplantation: An update for the United States trauma system

Scott J. Farber, Rami S. Kantar, J. Rodrigo Diaz-Siso, Eduardo D. Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Face transplantation has evolved over the last 12 years into a safe and feasible reconstructive solution, with good aesthetic and functional outcomes for patients with severe facial defects who are not amenable to reconstruction through conventional and autologous approaches. Among patients who underwent face transplantation to date, a significant proportion did so following trauma, mostly ballistic and thermal injuries. It is therefore important for trauma surgeons who deal with these injuries regularly to be familiar with the literature on face transplantation following traumatic injuries. In this study, we provide a focused review on this topic, with an emphasis on highlighting the limitations of conventional craniomaxillofacial reconstruction, while emphasizing data available on the risks, benefits, surgical indications, contraindications, as well as aesthetic and functional outcomes of face transplantation. The authors also provide an update on all face transplants performed to date including traumatic mechanisms of injury, and extent of defects. They finally describe 2 cases performed by the senior author for patients presenting with devastating facial ballistic and thermal injuries. The authors hope that this work serves as an update for the trauma surgery community regarding the current role and limitations of face transplantation as a craniomaxillofacial reconstructive option for their patient population. This can potentially expedite the reconstructive process for patients who may benefit from face transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)832-838
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Craniofacial Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Ballistic injury
  • burn injury
  • face transplantation
  • reconstruction
  • war surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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