Assessment Methods of Sensory Recovery after Face Transplantation

  • Grzegorz Brzezicki
  • Maria Z. Siemionow


Sensory recovery is a prerequisite of successful functional rehabilitation after composite tissue face allograft transplantation including: speech, facial mimetics, swallowing, chewing, and drinking. Half of the patients out of four with reported outcomes received primary sensate grafts, while the other two had been transplanted with nonsensate facial allografts. Each transplant also significantly differed from each other in the area of the skin transplanted, tissues included, age of the recipient, and methods of sensory recovery assessment. While no direct comparisons can be made, some general conclusions can be drawn. All four patients achieved good recovery of light touch, punctate touch, and heat/cold sensation in follow-up times up to 2 years, starting as early as 2 weeks. Patients were not directly tested for pain sensation recovery; however, three of four needed regional anesthesia for routine graft biopsies 2–5 months posttransplantation. Primarily, nonsensate grafts were able to achieve comparable sensory results to innervated transplants. As the number of face transplant grows worldwide, more standardized approach to sensory testing should be initiated to allow easier comparisons, predict achievable recovery, and tailor rehabilitation to specific patient.


Trigeminal Nerve Light Touch Pressure Pain Threshold Quantitative Sensory Test Touch Sensation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



German Research Network on Neuropathic Pain


Pressure-specified sensory device


2 Point Discrimination


Quantitative Sensory Testing


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Copyright information

© Springer London 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plastic SurgeryCleveland ClinicClevelandUSA

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