Composite tissue allotransplantation of the face: Decision analysis model Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • BACKGROUND: Facial composite tissue allotransplantation is a potential reconstructive option for severe facial disfigurement. The purpose of the present investigation was to use decision analysis modelling to ascertain the expected quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained with face transplantation (versus remaining in a disfigured state) in an effort to assist surgeons with the decision of whether to adopt this procedure. STUDY DESIGN: The probabilities of potential complications associated with facial allotransplantation were identified by a comprehensive review of kidney and hand transplant literature. A decision analysis tree illustrating possible health states for face allotransplantation was then constructed. Utilities were obtained from 30 participants, using the standard gamble and time trade-off measures. The utilities were then translated into QALYs, and the expected QALYs gained with transplantation were computed. RESULTS: Severe facial deformity was associated with an average of 7.34 QALYs. Allotransplantation of the face imparted an expected gain in QALYs of between 16.2 and 27.3 years. CONCLUSIONS: The current debate within the medical community surrounding facial composite tissue allotransplantation has centred on the issue of inducing a state of immunocompromise in a physically healthy individual for a non-life-saving procedure. However, the latter must be weighed against the potential social and psychological benefits that transplantation would confer. As demonstrated by a gain of 26.9 QALYs, participants' valuation of quality of life is notably greater for face transplantation with its side effects of immunosuppression than for a state of uncompromised physical health with severe facial disfigurement.

publication date

  • September 2007