• BANFF classification;
  • face allotransplantation;
  • histology;
  • mucosa;
  • rejection;
  • skin


In December of 2008, our institution performed a near total face transplant. The patient was monitored for signs of rejection assessed by paired skin and mucosa biopsies. The results of histological review of 120 biopsies collected during the first 4 years posttransplant are discussed. All biopsies were stained with hematoxylin and eosin, periodic acid-Schiff, immunohistochemical and TUNEL assays and graded using the Banff 2007 classification. Grade III rejection was diagnosed clinically at weeks 45 and 66, posttransplant; week 45 was determined as folliculitis while the erythema episode at week 66 confirmed an acute rejection (AR) that required hospitalization. The mucosa frequently showed interface inflammation without clinical signs of rejection and was not present in skin biopsies. In all, 34 of the 45 mucosal biopsies (75%) showed these interface changes. Clinical symptoms concurred with skin pathology in two grade III rejections. The mucosa showed histologic signs of rejection more frequently, which may indicate: increased mucosal sensitivity to rejection, a different type or subtype of AR that is specific to the mucosa, or a nonspecific process such as a drug effect. With more data and world experience, the diagnosis of face transplant rejection will be better defined and the Banff classification enhanced.