Have you ever lost your sense of smell or taste? Recall how it feels when your face/mouth don’t work properly until the nerve blocks wear off after a dental procedure.
Those are all things (and more) a facial transplant patient has to deal with. The article discussing recovery of sensation after facial transplantation in the May issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery discusses this topic (first reference below).
In addition to reviewing their own face transplant patients (n=4), Dr. Maria Siemionow and colleagues did a literature review (English literature for peer-reviewed articles published between 1940 and 2010) of sensory recovery after various standard nerve repair techniques.
These other nerve repair techniques included repair of the peripheral branches of the trigeminal nerve; sensory return after free tissue transfer (ie noninnervated flaps, including radial forearm, lateral thigh, anterolateral thigh, latissimus dorsi, trapezius, et al and innervated free flaps, including radial forearm, anterolateral thigh, and rectus abdominis musculocutaneous flaps); and sensory recovery following replantation of scalp and forehead. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*