The innovation of composite vascularized allotransplantation has provided plastic and reconstructive surgeons with the ultimate tool for those patients that present with facial deformities that cannot be reconstructed with classical or more traditional techniques. Transplanting normal tissues allows for a true restorative surgery. Initial experiences included the substitution of missing anatomy, whereas after the first world's full-face transplant performed in Barcelona in March 2010, a true ablative surgery with a total restoration proved to be effective. We review the world's experience and the performance of our restorative protocol to depict this change in the reconstructive paradigm of facial transplantation. Facial transplants should be performed after a careful analysis of the defect, with a comprehensive ablation plan following esthetic units with sacrifice of all required tissues with a focus of global restoration of anatomy, aesthetics and function, respecting normal functioning muscles. Nowadays, facial transplants following strict esthetic units should restore disfigurement extending to small central areas, whereas major defects may require a total ablation and restoration with full-face transplants. © 2013 Surgical Associates Ltd.