Study of face transplants reveals signs of premature aging on patients

In a study published online Dec. 3 in the American Journal of Transplantation, researchers say that more than 30 face transplants have been performed worldwide, but there is little information about recipients' long-term outcomes.

In this study, three full-face transplant patients were followed for three years. They had a significant decrease in facial volume that resembled premature aging, said Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, both in Boston.

This change in appearance was the result of bone and muscle loss rather than the reduced facial fat or skin thickness that occurs in normal aging of the face, said Pomahac, who in 2011 led the first full-face transplant in the United States.