Updated 04 July 2014

Blood vessels reorganise after face transplants

Blood vessels in face transplant recipients re-organise themselves, leading to an understanding of the biologic changes that happen after full face transplantation.

As 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 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 new connections.

"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


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