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Home >> Life
UPDATED: 13:56, December 03, 2005
World's first face transplant recipient in good condition
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A French woman who received the world's first partial face transplant is in good health and recovering well, her medical team said on Friday following the pioneering operation.

Doctors said she is happy with her new face and has thanked them for their work.

"The patient saw her face on Monday morning and her first words were 'thank you'," Professor Bernard Devauchelle, one of the surgeons who performed the surgery on Sunday, told a news conference in the central-eastern French city of Lyon.

He said the patient regained consciousness 24 hours after the operation and there were no post-operative complications. She has been eating and talking since early this week.

She is "doing well, physically, immunologically and psychologically," added Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard, a transplant pioneer who performed the first ever double hand graft five years ago.

The 38-year-old woman, whose name remains a secret, lost both lips and her nose after she was mauled by her dog in May, and was unable to speak or eat properly.

Doctors transplanted a nose, chin and mouth taken from a brain-dead donor onto her lower face on Sunday, a world first for an operation that carries high medical risks.

"The benefits are already clear. She eats, she drinks, she speaks clearly. Before the transplant she had no lips and without lips it is very hard to breathe, eat or drink," Devauchelle said.

Doctors say there are still risks of complications, including rejection of the tissue and an increased danger of cancer because of the drugs used to prevent the immune system from rejecting the new facial parts.

The doctors said she would have to undergo physical and speech therapy as well as seeing a psychologist, and it would take several months for her face to regain full sensitivity.

A further operation is possible if doctors consider it necessary, they said.

Doctors in Europe and the United States have had the technical ability to carry out facial transplants for some time, but held back because of ethical concerns about the high-risk procedure.

Source: Xinhua

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