Vascularised composite allotransplantation in solid organ transplant recipients: A systematic review

Calum Honeyman, Helen L. Stark, Charles A. Fries, Vijay S. Gorantla, Michael R. Davis, Henk Giele

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: A solid organ transplant (SOT) recipient, already taking immunosuppression, may represent the ideal candidate for vascularised composite allograft transplantation (VCA). However, concerns have been raised about the potential risk of SOT loss or the need for increased immunosuppression to sustain the VCA. This systematic review examines all published cases of SOT recipients who have received a VCA to establish associated morbidity and immunosuppression requirements. Methods: A systematic review was performed in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines. The PubMed, MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were searched for original articles published between January 1997 and May 2019. Only articles relating to patients who had received both a VCA and SOT with a reported follow up of greater than six months were included. Results: Fifteen articles were identified, including data from 39 VCAs in 37 patients. There was no increase in the number of SOT rejection episodes, complications such as post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder or graft versus host disease, de novo donor specific HLA antibodies or short-term risks to the recipient when compared with SOT in isolation. One child required a sustained increase in their baseline immunosuppression following bilateral hand transplantation. Conclusions: In this small heterogeneous cohort, the addition of a VCA to a SOT does not appear to increase the short-term risks to the SOT or the patient with comparable results to SOT in isolation. However, data are often poorly reported and longer-term follow up and uniform reporting of outcomes would be beneficial to more accurately assess the safety profile of combining VCA with SOT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-326
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Immunosuppression
  • Reconstructive transplant
  • Solid organ transplant
  • VCA
  • Vascularised composite allotransplant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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