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Published on May 6, 2009
The recipient of the first face transplant done in the United States has stepped forward to reveal the results of her surgery.
Connie Culp, a 46-year-old Ohio woman, lost a large part of her face in 2004 when her husband shot her in the face, then turned the gun on himself. He went to prison for seven years. According to the Associated Press, the gunshot destroyed Culp's nose, cheeks, the roof of her mouth and one eye and left hundreds of bone fragments and shotgun pellets lodged in her face. Only her upper eyelids, forehead, lower lip and chin remained. Culp could not breathe without the aid of a tube inserted into her windpipe.
But now a 22-hour face transplant operation -- conducted Dec. 10 and led by Dr. Maria Siemionow of the Cleveland Clinic -- may have given Culp a new lease on life.
Her expressions are still a bit wooden, and her face has a bulky, squarish look. But doctors say subsequent operations -- performed once her circulation and nerves begin to grow -- should improve her appearance further. [HEALTHDAY NEWS] MAY 6 2009