Facial allotransplantation including the temporomandibular joints may improve the functional outcomes in face transplant candidates who have lost or damaged this joint.
Linear and angular measurements were taken in 100 dry skulls and mandibles and in 100 three-dimensionally–reconstructed facial computed tomographic scans to determine the variability of the temporomandibular joint, glenoid fossa, and mandible. A vascular study was performed in six fresh cadaveric heads, followed by harvest of the face allograft in three heads. Next, four heads were used for mock transplantation (two donors and two recipients). The full facial allograft included four different segments: a Le Fort III, a mandibular tooth-bearing, and two condyle and temporomandibular joint–bearing segments. Statistical analysis was performed using SAS software.
In only one-third of the skulls, the condylar shape was symmetric between right and left sides. There was a wide variability in the condylar coronal (range, 14.3 to 23.62 mm) and sagittal dimensions (range, 5.64 to 10.96 mm), medial intercondylar distance (range, 66.55 to 89.91 mm), and intercondylar angles (range, 85.27 to 166.94 degrees). This high variability persisted after stratification by sex, ethnicity, and age. The temporomandibular joint was harvested based on the branches of the superficial temporal and maxillary arteries. The design of the allograft allowed fixation of the two condyle and temporomandibular joint–bearing segments to the recipient skull base, preserving the articular disk-condyle-fossa relationship, and differences were adjusted at the bilateral sagittal split osteotomy sites.
Procurement and transplantation of a temporomandibular joint–containing total face allograft is technically feasible in a cadaveric model.