First United States Face Transplant

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Four days after the nation’s second face transplant was performed, the plastic surgeon who led the team said he is “cautiously optimistic” over the recovery of the patient. Connie Culp’s husband, Thomas, shot her in 2004, then turned the gun on himself but survived. He went to prison for seven years according to reports. Connie made her in progress debut to thank the doctors who performed the miraculous surgery. At a news briefing the team of eight doctors that performed the operation reported that the surgery will enable her to drink from a cup, eat solid food, smell and breathe through her nose. The surgeons removed most of the face of a deceased donor and placed it onto Ms. Culp like a mask, incorporating portions of her own visage. About 80% of the patient’s face was replaced.

Connie Culp endured 30 operations to try to fix her face. Doctors took parts of her ribs to make cheekbones and fashioned an upper jaw from one of her leg bones. She had countless skin grafts from her thighs. Still, she was left unable to eat solid food, breathe on her own, or smell.

Then, on Dec. 10, in a 22-hour operation, Dr. Maria Siemionow led a team of doctors who replaced 80 percent of Culp’s face with bone, muscles, nerves, skin and blood vessels from another woman who had just died. It was the fourth face transplant in the world, though the others were not as extensive.

Here I am, five years later. He did what he said — I got me my nose,” Culp said of Djohan, laughing.

I am literally touch by Connie Culp’s courage to stand before the media and give an press release. I love it when she laughs about getting her nose….

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