Anaesthetic Management for Face Transplantations: The Experience of Akdeniz University [Turk J Anaesthesiol Reanim]
Turk J Anaesthesiol Reanim. 2019; 47(3): 228-234 | DOI: 10.5152/TJAR.2019.04935  

Anaesthetic Management for Face Transplantations: The Experience of Akdeniz University

Necmiye Hadımıoğlu1, Melike Cengiz1, Atilla Ramazanoğlu1, Özlenen Özkan2, Mustafa Gökhan Ertosun2, Nilgun Bilal3, Ömer Özkan2
1Department of Anaesthesiology and Reanimation, Akdeniz University School of Medicine, Antalya, Turkey
2Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Akdeniz University School of Medicine, Antalya, Turkey
3Akdeniz University Hospital, Transplantation Center, Antalya, Turkey

Objective: Solid organ transplantation is a rescue therapy, whereas face transplantation, as well as other composite tissue allotransplantations, offers treatment options to enhance the quality of life. Difficult airway, severe haemorrhage and prolonged operative length are among the frequently encountered complications of anaesthetic management in patients with a history of multiple reconstructive surgeries.

Methods: Five face allotransplants that were performed in our institute, arising from four full and one partial face transplantations, were reviewed. The pitfalls encountered before, during and following surgery were then summarised.

Results: Two of our patients (patients 3 and 4) underwent permanent tracheostomy preoperatively. Transplantation was initiated after surgical tracheostomy under local anaesthesia and under sedation in cases 2 and 5. Patient 1 was orally intubated without difficulty under general anaesthesia and was operated following tracheal cannulation via surgical tracheostomy. Thirteen units of red blood cells were transfused each for patients 2 and 4. Two other patients (patients 1 and 4) each received 5 units of red blood cells. Patient 5, who underwent mid-face transplantation lasting for 7.5 h, was not transfused. No major life-threatening complications were observed intraoperatively or following surgery.

Conclusion: Face transplantation is a surgical procedure in which anaesthetic management may be problematic. The anaesthetist may encounter difficulties, such as difficult airway, severe bleeding, a prolonged operative time and postoperative complications. Side effects and complications may be reduced by strict follow-up and haemodynamic monitoring of patients.

Keywords: Anaesthesia, complications, face transplantation


Necmiye Hadımıoğlu, Melike Cengiz, Atilla Ramazanoğlu, Özlenen Özkan, Mustafa Gökhan Ertosun, Nilgun Bilal, Ömer Özkan. Anaesthetic Management for Face Transplantations: The Experience of Akdeniz University. Turk J Anaesthesiol Reanim. 2019; 47(3): 228-234

Corresponding Author: Necmiye Hadımıoğlu, Türkiye


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