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The Public Face of Transplantation: The Potential of Education to Expand the Face Donor Pool

Plana, Natalie M. B.A.; Kimberly, Laura L. M.S.W., M.B.E.; Parent, Brendan J.D.; Khouri, Kimberly S. B.S.; Diaz-Siso, J. Rodrigo M.D.; Fryml, Elise M. B.S., M.Sc.; Motosko, Catherine C. B.S.; Ceradini, Daniel J. M.D.; Caplan, Arthur Ph.D.; Rodriguez, Eduardo D. M.D., D.D.S.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: January 2018 - Volume 141 - Issue 1 - p 176-185
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000003954
Reconstructive: Head and Neck: Special Topic
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Psychosocial Insights
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Background: Despite the growing success of facial transplantation, organ donor shortages remain challenging. Educational health campaigns can effectively inform the general public and institute behavioral modifications. A brief educational introduction to facial transplantation may positively influence the public’s position on facial donation.

Methods: The authors anonymously surveyed 300 participants, gathering basic demographic information, donor registration status, awareness of facial transplantation, and willingness to donate solid organs and facial allografts. Two-hundred of these participants were presented an educational video and subsequently resurveyed on facial donation. Factorial parametric analyses were performed to compare exposure responses before and after watching video exposure.

Results: Among participants completing the survey alone (control group), 49 percent were registered donors, 78 percent reported willingness to donate solid organs, and 52 percent reported willingness to donate facial allograft. Of participants who watched the video (video group) 52 percent were registered; 69 and 51 percent were willing to donate solid organs and face, respectively. Following educational intervention, 69 percent of participants in the video group reported willingness to donate facial tissue, an 18 percent increase (p < 0.05), that equated to those willing to donate solid organs. The greatest increase was observed among younger participants (23 percent); women (22 percent); Jewish (22 percent), Catholic (22 percent), and black/African American (25 percent) participants; and respondents holding a higher degree. No significant differences according to gender or ethnicity were observed.

Conclusion: Educational interventions hold much promise for increasing the general public’s awareness of facial transplantation and willingness to participate in donation of facial allografts.

Psychosocial Insights for this article are on page 183.

New York, N.Y.

From the Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery and the Division of Medical Ethics, New York University Langone Medical Center.

Received for publication October 6, 2016; accepted August 8, 2017.

Disclosure:The authors do not have any commercial associations or financial disclosures that might pose or create a conflict of interest with information presented in this article.

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Eduardo D. Rodriguez, M.D., D.D.S., Hansjorg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery, New York University Langone Medical Center, 305 East 33rd Street, New York, N.Y. 10016,

Copyright © 2017 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons