Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation in Burn Reconstruction: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Kelsey M. Gray, Joshua M. Peterson, Pablo L. Padilla, Jeffrey M. Smith, Ramón L. Zapata-Sirvent, Ludwik K. Branski, William B. Norbury, Peter Dziewulski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Vascularized composite allotransplantation has been successfully employed for burn reconstruction since 2003. However, its safety in this population has been questioned due to high levels of alloimmunization from burn care-related tissue exposures. To investigate this, a systematic review of vascularized composite allotransplantation employed for burn reconstruction was conducted, evaluating literature from January 2000 to September 2019. Articles containing vascularized composite allotransplantation, composite tissue allotransplantation, and burn reconstructive surgery were included; articles without published outcomes were excluded. Observational meta-analysis of pooled mortality and acute rejection episodes relative to allograft type (face vs extremity) and reconstruction type (burn vs non-burn) was performed. Twenty-four of the 63 identified articles met the criteria for inclusion, with 5 more articles added after secondary review. To date, 152 allotransplantations have been performed in 117 patients: 45 face transplants and 107 extremity transplants. Of these, 34 (22%) were performed for burn reconstruction in 25 patients (21%) with an overall higher 1-year mortality rate (12.0% vs 1.1%, P =. 030). Of these deaths, 75% received three or more simultaneous allografts. Additionally, more episodes of acute rejection occurred compared to non-burn patients (4.4 vs 2.4, P =. 035). Vascularized composite allotransplantation performed for burn reconstruction was found to be associated with a greater risk of 1-year mortality and nearly twice the number of episodes of acute rejection. Future studies should seek to identify unique risk factors of burn patients undergoing this operation and evaluate the relationship between antigenic burden and surgical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-472
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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