Face Transplant Research Program

The Face Transplant Research Program within the Mayo Clinic Transplant Research Center is developing techniques to improve face transplant surgery and its long-term outcomes.

The Face Transplant Research Program consists of a multidisciplinary team of experts led by plastic surgeons specializing in facial reconstruction and reconstructive microsurgery, along with transplant physicians who specialize in immunosuppression and long-term medical management of transplant recipients.

The Face Transplant Research Program is studying methods to overcome lifelong immunosuppression and limitations in facial neuromuscular function through both the basic and clinical science. Researchers are developing 3-D surgical planning techniques for donor and recipient surgery, improving nerve regeneration after face transplant, and examining the social and societal factors that accompany face transplant.

Research focus areas

The Face Transplant Research Program at Mayo Clinic focuses on:

  • Anatomical research. The face transplant team is developing techniques and approaches in face transplant through modeling and surgical simulations. Using the latest 3-D medical modeling for virtual surgical planning, the team has worked with engineers to improve predictability, efficiency and accuracy in craniofacial surgery and facial transplantation. Investigators are also working on furthering the role of advanced 3-D imaging techniques using CT and MRI in improving surgical effectiveness and planning in facial transplantation.
  • Basic science research. Investigators are studying facial nerve regeneration in composite tissue auto- and allo-transplantation. This work includes developing nerve regeneration and function with different immunosuppressive and treatment models, with the goal of optimizing functional recovery and healing after face transplant.
  • Clinical research. As a relatively new area in reconstructive and transplant surgery, face transplant presents a gamut of ethical, psychological, social and medical issues for discussion and further research. Mayo Clinic researchers are studying the psychological and social impacts of face transplant through clinical and epidemiological qualitative research methods.

Program faculty

Here's a list of faculty in the Face Transplant Research Program by campus location.