Psychological outcomes with face transplantation: Overview and case report

Kathy L. Coffman, Chad Gordon, Maria Siemionow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to provide guidance in a burgeoning new field of facial composite tissue transplantation. This review will contrast face transplant with solid organ transplantation, provide information to guide selection of face transplant candidates, and share information on psychological outcomes. Recent findings: Previously published face transplant reports have not investigated body image, mood changes, perception of teasing, quality of life, self-esteem, or social reintegration quantitatively. Face transplantation appears to decrease depression and verbal abuse, and improve quality of life and social reintegration, though may not alter anxiety or self-esteem. The Psychosocial Adjustment for Illness Scale-Self-Report scale may have advantages over the SF-36 and World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL)-BREF rating scales for measuring psychological distress and social reintegration. Summary: Face transplantation is currently a technique of last resort after traditional reconstructive techniques have failed, not for cosmesis alone. Mortality among eight existing face transplant patients is 25%, two of eight. Some consider blindness as an absolute contraindication; however, those who are legally blind but retain some vision may be appropriate candidates. Physical goals of transplantation include regaining movement of underlying structures and restoring the appearance of a normal face. However, psychological outcomes and quality of life are also important to the success of face transplantation and ultimately will determine the value of the procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-240
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent opinion in organ transplantation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Body image
  • Face transplantation
  • Psychological outcome
  • Reconstructive surgery
  • Social reintegration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation


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