Connie Culp: first US face transplant

May 6th, 2009 - 8:23 pm ICT by GD  

Connie Culp, the first person to have received an almost total face plant in the US today appeared before the media. Connie is 46 years old and a mother of two kids. In 2004 her husband shot her and that left her without the middle of her face. Her identity had been concealed so long. Today she acknowledged the donor family. She had ample reasons to do so as 80% of her face was replaced with that of a dead female donor. The surgery was carried out at a clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. She clearly pointed out that it was the donor family who were real angels for her. She told the reporters, “I guess I’m the one you came to see today…(but) I think it’s more important that you focus on the donor family that made it so I could have this person’s face.” This is the fourth such operation.

The transplant is only the fourth to be carried out. Two operations have been conducted in France and one in China. Maria Simeniow, the director of the clinic in which the plastic surgery was carried out, said that the surgery had altered Connie’s life dramatically.

One of the things she had to say was “When somebody has a disfigurement and don’t look as pretty as you do, don’t judge them, because you never know what happened to them.” Her injury had left Connie without the facial bone support. Moreover she could neither eat nor breathe without a tube in the windpipe. The surgery took 22 hours and was performed by 11 skilled surgeons. She is now able to perform the normal physiological functions by herself now. Dr Sieminow said it was the most complex transplant to date. Muscles, nerves, skin and blood vessels had to be incorporated from the donor’s face.
Connie Culp

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