vessels in face transplant recipients re-organise themselves, researchers have
found, leading to an understanding of the biologic changes that happen after
full face transplantation.
results of the study have been presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological
Society of North America .
Face transplantation is a recent development in reconstructive surgery for
patients who have lost some or all of their face from injury or disease. The
first full face transplantation in the US was carried out at Brigham and
Women's Hospital in Boston in 2011.
part of the procedure, surgeons connect the patient's major arteries and veins
to those from a donor face to ensure healthy circulation in the transplanted
tissue. Because the technology is new, not much is known about the vascular
changes that help blood penetrate into the transplanted tissue.
Arteries and veins
The development of new blood vessel networks
in transplanted tissue is critical to the success of face transplant surgery.
"We assumed that the arterial blood
supply and venous blood return was simply from the connections of the arteries
and the veins at the time of the surgery."
Co-author Dr Frank J Rybicki, director of the hospital's Applied Imaging
Science Laboratory and his fellow researchers used 320-detector row dynamic
computed tomography angiography (CTA) to study the facial allografts of patients
one year after successful transplantation.
The CTA technology offers imaging over 16cm of
coverage, enabling the researchers to view collateralisation, a process in
which the body stimulates existing blood vessels to elongate, widen and form
key finding of this study is that, after full face transplantation, there is a
consistent, extensive vascular reorganisation that works in concert with the
larger vessels that are connected at the time of surgery," said another
researcher, Dr Kanako K Kumamaru.
"We have found that since the vessels more commonly associated with the
back of the head are critical to maintain the vascular reorganisation.”
The authors note that the findings could help improve surgical planning and
assessment of potential complications in face transplant patients.
(Information from EurekAlert.org)
(Photo about X-rays from Shutterstock)