The New Face of Transplant Surgery: A Survey on Cosmetic Surgery in Transplant Recipients



Transplant surgery has undergone tremendous advances within the last decade. Improvements in surgical techniques, availability of potent immunosuppressive medications, and utilization of more sophisticated post-transplant immunosuppression protocols have revolutionized the field. These developments have resulted in increased allograft survival, prolonged longevity, and improved quality of life in transplant organ recipients. Elimination of steroids in many postoperative immunosuppressive regimens has tremendously impacted the quality of life and physical appearance of these patients. They are living longer and more normal lives than previously considered possible. As a testament to the success of transplantation surgery, many transplant patients are now seeking aesthetic surgery.


A survey was sent to ASPS members asking about their experience with transplant patients undergoing aesthetic procedures.


Of the 789 (18%) plastic surgeons who responded, 201 (25%) have performed aesthetic surgery on transplant recipients. A total of 278 patients underwent 292 surgical aesthetic procedures and 64 patients underwent 94 nonsurgical aesthetic procedures. The incidence of reported perioperative complications was 3.4%. There were very few additional precautions taken with these patients relative to the general population. With the exception of obtaining medical clearance, these additional precautions were inconsistent among plastic surgeons.


Cosmetic surgery in transplant recipients is being successfully practiced in the USA. Surgical and nonsurgical aesthetic procedures are being performed safely in organ transplant recipients without a significant increase in the incidence or degree of complications. If certain precautions are undertaken, these patients may expect a degree of success comparable to that of the rest of the population.

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Correspondence to Iliana Sweis.

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Sweis, I., Tzvetanov, I. & Benedetti, E. The New Face of Transplant Surgery: A Survey on Cosmetic Surgery in Transplant Recipients. Aesth Plast Surg 33, 819–826 (2009).

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  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Transplant recipients
  • Survey
  • Immunosuppression