J reconstr Microsurg
DOI: 10.1055/s-0039-1691787
Original Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Reporting Practices on Immunosuppression and Rejection Management in Face Transplantation: A Systematic Review

Giulia Daneshgaran
1  Department of Medical Student Research, Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Bronx, New York, United States
,
Carrie S. Stern
2  Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York, United States
,
Evan S. Garfein
2  Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York, United States
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

26 December 2018

15 April 2019

Publication Date:
06 June 2019 (eFirst)

Abstract

Background Face transplantation is a demanding operation requiring complex planning and expert technical performance. While the documentation of successes of the first transplants is impressive, there are lacunae in reporting of institutional protocols for other critical operation components, namely, immunosuppression, graft surveillance, and management of rejection and graft failure. The purpose of this review is to assess protocol reporting by face transplant teams to determine where we, as a plastic surgery community, can improve.

Methods A systematic review of PubMed was conducted to identify literature on face transplants published from November, 2005, starting with the first successful transplant to December, 2018. English-language articles were reviewed for reporting of protocols on antimicrobial prophylaxis, immunosuppression, graft surveillance, and management of rejection and graft failure.

Results A total of 44 face transplantation patients were identified. Protocols for antimicrobial prophylaxis, immunosuppressive induction, and maintenance immunosuppression were reported for 61%, 75%, and 73% of patients, respectively. Protocols for graft surveillance and medical management of rejection were reported for 70% of patients in both cases. Surgical salvage strategies to manage graft failure were documented for 43% of patients.

Conclusions The current literature on face transplantation does not include consistent reporting on critical aspects of patient care. Medical protocols outlining guidelines for immunosuppression, graft surveillance, and management of rejection and graft failure are the most critical factors determining overall transplant success. However, they are underreported in the literature. Development and communication of standardized protocols is essential to improve patient outcomes and maximize the results of this procedure.