Replantation versus transplantation: Where do we stand?

Lindsay E. Janes, Christine McAndrew, L. Scott Levin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose: Despite advances in extremity trauma care and reconstructive microsurgery, management of the traumatic amputations remains a challenge. The majority of patients will forever experience some level of disability even with replantation or advanced prosthetics. The goal of this article is to familiarize hand and reconstructive surgeons with the current state of upper extremity transplantation, so they better can educate their amputee patients regarding this as an option following limb loss. Methods: Current literature, in addition to the international registry on hand and composite tissue transplantation, was reviewed to assemble a summary of outcomes in upper extremity replantation and transplantation. Results: Sensory and functional outcomes of replantation and transplantation are comparable. Reported complications of immunosuppression are similar to those of other solid organ transplants. The financial cost of hand transplantation is high, but comparable to the lifetime cost of prosthesis use. Conclusion: While the risk of immunosuppression is a serious consideration for patients pursuing hand transplantation, in the well-selected and informed patient, hand transplantation can dramatically improve patient reported to outcomes and quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEuropean Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Hand transplant
  • Replantation
  • Vascularized composite allotransplantion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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