Characteristics, diagnosis, and management of Ehlers-Danlos syndromes: A review

Andrew W. Joseph, Shannon S. Joseph, Clair A. Francomano, Theda C. Kontis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


IMPORTANCE Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDSs) are a group of heritable connective tissue disorders. Patients with EDSs can develop excessive facial rhytids, nasal deformities, and facial scarring, for which theymay seek consultation with a facial plastic surgeon. Ehlers-Danlos syndromes can be associated with serious surgical complications and should be identified preoperatively to facilitate optimal treatment. To our knowledge, no management guidelines for patients with EDSs exist in the facial plastic surgery literature.We present a review of the literature and management recommendations for the facial plastic surgeon. OBSERVATIONS We performed a PubMed/MEDLINE search for all publications in the English language related to surgical experience in patients with EDSs. A total of 37 publications (including reviews and case series) were included. Ehlers-Danlos syndromes are more common than appreciated, with an overall point prevalence between 1 in 2500 and 1 in 5000 according to existing literature. There are 6 main subtypes of EDSs that have significant phenotypic heterogeneity. Patients with classic type and hypermobile EDS (the 2 most common subtypes) can typically undergo elective facial plastic surgery without major complications. However, specific preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative issues, as outlined in this review, must be taken into consideration. Vascular EDS should serve as a contraindication to elective surgery given its potential for life-threatening complications. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Because of their skin laxity, patients with EDSs may present more frequently to facial plastic surgeons' offices. Simple screening questions can help the surgeon identify potential patients with EDSs. Treatment should be individualized and performed with extreme care to ensure optimal outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-75
Number of pages6
JournalJAMA Facial Plastic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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