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Health News

Face transplant woman reveals her new look


An American woman who underwent a full face transplant after being mauled by a chimpanzee in 2009 revealed her new face for the first time yesterday.

Carla Nash, 57, was photographed with a new nose, lips and facial skin in her hospital bed at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. The images showed a marked improvement from the last time she appeared in public on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2009. There now appears to be no visible signs of scarring or disfigurement.

Ms Nash, from Connecticut, was hurt after a friend's pet chimpanzee attacked her two years ago. The animal, named Travis, ripped off her nose, lips, eyelids and hands before being shot to death by police. She was left with no eyes and only a small opening where her mouth once was. She could only eat pureed food and was barely understandable when she talked.

In May, she became only the third person in the US to receive a full face transplant. Her skin, underlying muscles, blood vessels and nerves were replaced along with her hard palate and teeth.

"I will now be able to do things I once took for granted," she said in a statement yesterday. "I will be able to smell. I will be able to eat normally. I will no longer be disfigured. I will have lips and will speak clearly once again. I will be able to kiss and hug loved ones."

Ms Nash's face was rebuilt by a team of more than 30 doctors, nurses and anaesthetists in a challenging surgery made more complex by the double hand transplant.

Ms Nash's family is suing the estate of the chimpanzee's owner, Sandra Herold, for $50m and wants to sue the state for $150m, claiming that officials failed to prevent the violent attack. Mrs Herold died last year of an aneurysm.