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article imageFirst U.S. face transplant recipient revealed

By Chris V. Thangham     May 6, 2009 in Science
An Ohio woman who underwent transplant surgery on over 80 per cent of her face revealed her new face to the public. Her face was damaged by a shot gun blast from her husband five years ago.
Connie Culp, 46, was left without a nose, a palate or lower eyelids after a shot gun blast hit her in the face in 2004. Now, five years later, she has most of her face put back on using donated facial tissue from a cadaver.
Surgeons from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio did the successful surgery by transplanting about 80 per cent of Culp’s face. Culp’s entire face was replaced, except for her forehead, upper eyelids, lower lip and chin.
Culp was missing bone support in her face and had been unable to eat or breathe without a tube in her windpipe. With her new face, she can now perform those functions.
Maria Siemionow, the clinic’s director of plastic surgery research, told AFP, "We think this ... procedure has changed her life dramatically."
Face transplant
Surgeons from the Cleveland Clinic worked for 22 hours to transplant a woman's face almost entirely. The surgeons fixed her severe facial trauma that left her with only her upper eyelids, forehead, lower lip and chin. The operation replaced about 80 per cent of her face, donated from a deceased woman.
Courtesy the Cleveland Clinic
The clinic did not reveal her identity, but Culp decided to reveal herself to the public. Culp told AFP:
"Well, I guess I'm the one you came to see today...I think it's more important that you focus on the donor family that made it so I could have this person's face."
A month after she was shot, plastic surgeon Risal Djohan wasn’t sure if he could fix her face, but said he would try.
Culp is now happy with the results.
Face transplant
Surgeons from the Cleveland Clinic worked for 22 hours to transplant a woman's face almost entirely. The surgeons fixed her severe facial trauma that left her with only her upper eyelids, forehead, lower lip and chin. The operation replaced about 80 per cent of her face, donated from a deceased woman.
Courtesy the Cleveland Clinic
Siemionow said the transplant surgery on Culp "...was the most complex functional restoration in the world today." Siemionow told AFP:
"We have transplanted for the first time in the world the largest scheme of the face, which was combined with the bones, with the entire nose and functional units, including lower eyelids, upper lip and including also her palate"
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