Quality of life considerations in upper limb transplantation: Review and future directions

Sally E. Jensen*, Zeeshan Butt, Alex Bill, Talia Baker, Michael M. Abecassis, Allen W. Heinemann, David Cella, Gregory A. Dumanian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Purpose: As reconstructive transplantation emerges as an increasingly viable option for upper limb amputees, a better understanding of quality of life (QOL) outcomes is needed to evaluate the benefits and risks of the procedure from the patient perspective. Methods: To address this need, we searched PubMed (1998-2011) to characterize QOL outcomes among upper limb transplant recipients. We identified 27 articles reporting on QOL outcomes in hand transplantation. Common instruments to assess domains of QOL in hand transplantation include the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand questionnaire, the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36, and the International Registry on Hand and Composite Tissue Transplantation's Hand Transplantation Score System. Results: Preliminary reports using standardized measures indicate that most hand transplant recipients described improved QOL. Several studies also qualitatively reported that recipients expressed satisfaction with cosmetic, sensory, functional, and social outcomes after transplantation. However, our review suggests that the measurement of QOL in hand transplantation is limited, although it is largely driven by QOL considerations. Conclusions: This review highlights the need for improved measurement of QOL in hand transplantation. The preliminary QOL findings across published hand transplantation articles will aid in improving the future assessment of QOL in hand transplantation. Type of study/level of evidence: Therapeutic III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2126-2135
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Hand transplantation
  • patient-reported outcomes
  • quality of life
  • reconstructive transplantation
  • upper-limb amputation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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