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imageSevere injuries of the face and limbs remain a major challenge in today’s reconstructive surgery. Vascularized composite allotransplantation (VCA) has emerged as a promising approach to restore these defects. Yet, there are major obstacles preventing VCA from broad clinical application. Two key restrictions are (1) the graft’s limited possible ischemia time, keeping the potential donor radius extremely small, and (2) the graft’s immunogenicity, making extensive lifelong monitoring and immunosuppressive treatment mandatory. Machine perfusion systems have demonstrated clinical success addressing these issues in solid organ transplantation by extending possible ischemia times and decreasing immunogenicity. Despite many recent promising preclinical trials, machine perfusion has not yet been utilized in clinical VCA. This review presents latest perfusion strategies in clinical solid organ transplantation and experimental VCA in light of the specific requirements by the vascularized composite allograft’s unique tissue composition. It discusses optimal settings for temperature, oxygenation, and flow types, as well as perfusion solutions and the most promising additives. Moreover, it highlights the implications for the utility of VCA as therapeutic measure in plastic surgery, if machine perfusion can be successfully introduced in a clinical setting.

Reviews of National Laser Institute