Experimental Facial Transplantation Surgery

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Facial composite tissue allograft transplantation represents a novel frontier in the reconstruction of complex human facial defects. To develop more refined surgical techniques and yield fine results, it is definite to make a suitable animal model. Rabbit is a medium-sized animal and considered to have many advantages than any other animal, but published reports are very few and contain less detailed description. We made an easy and accessible facial transplantation approach and tried to ascertain its virtue of use as an appropriate transplantation model. The facial-scalp flap including ipsilateral ear was harvested and transferred as a single unit with unilateral common carotid artery and external jugular vein. Most allografts survived with perfect viability without vascular problems in the early postoperative period, and rejection response was also identified by clinical and histopathologic analysis. The total mean time of transplantation was 2 hours ± 10 minutes. We documented that this model is well qualified for use as a standard transplantation training model and future research work in every aspect.

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