INTRODUCTION: Face transplant (FT) candidates present with unique anatomic and functional defects unsuitable for autologous reconstruction, making the accurate design and transplantation of patient-specific allografts particularly challenging. In this case series, we present our computerized surgical planning (CSP) protocol for FT.
METHODS: CSP, computer-aided design and manufacturing, intraoperative navigation, and intraoperative computerized tomography have been successfully incorporated into a comprehensive protocol. Three consecutive FTs were performed. CSP and postoperative results were compared using computerized tomography–derived cephalometric measurements, and the literature was reviewed.
RESULTS: Two full and 1 partial FT were successfully performed using the CSP protocol. CSP facilitated the execution of FT with minor angular and translational cephalometric variations on immediate postoperative imaging. Our evolving experience was accompanied by a decreased reliance on cadaveric simulation, from 10 mock transplants and a research procurement before the senior author’s first clinical FT (2012) to 6 mock transplants and no research procurement before the third FT (2018). Operative time was significantly reduced from 36 to 25 hours, as was the need for major orthognathic surgical revision. This reflects the learning curve and variable case complexity, but is also representative of improved planning and execution, complemented by the systematic incorporation of CSP into FT.
CONCLUSION: A CSP protocol allows for refinement of operative flow, technique, and outcomes in partial and full FT. Standards for functional and esthetic outcomes are bound to evolve with the field’s growth, and computerized planning and execution offer a reproducible approach to FT through objective quality assurance.