A Vascular Composite Allograft (VCA) is the transplantation of a composite tissue. Composite tissue is anything that requires blood flow in order to function and includes skin, muscle, bone and nerves. The most common VCA transplants are face and limb transplants. Although still a rare site, VCAs have become more common transplants for patients suffering severe injury, accidents, assaults, disfigurement from cancer, war injuries, or other life-threatening illness.
VCA transplants have restored vital function to patients with severe injuries and disfigurement, burns, malformations, and illness. Like other transplant recipients, people who receive VCA transplants must take medication to prevent their body from rejecting the transplanted organ (e.g. immunosuppressants).
VCA candidates are matched with compatible donors based on waiting time and distance from the donor hospital. Unlike internal organs, face and hands are also matched for size, skin color, gender, and age range.
Donor authorization (on your driver’s license or online donor registry) does not include VCA. A separate, specific authorization is required for VCA donation.
Authorization for VCA is never assumed as part of a registration to be an organ, eye and tissue donor. VCA authorization must be specifically stated by an individual on his/her donor registration or by the legal next-of-kin if authorizing the donation at the time of death.
-Vlad Elizarov, Alexander’s Hope Intern