Face transplant woman feels again

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The Independent Online

The woman who had the world's first partial face transplant has complete feeling in the new tissue just five months after the pioneering operation.

Isabelle Dinoire, 38, had the 15-hour operation to replace her chin, lips and nose last November in the northern French town of Amiens.

A team of eight surgeons rebuilt part of her face which was lost when she was mauled by her pet Labrador in May last year at her home in Valenciennes, northern France.

"The scars have considerably healed. The doctors are confident. In addition, I have recovered total feeling," she said in an interview withLe Journal du Dimanche.

Asked if she had accepted her new face, she replied, "It's too difficult to explain."

Ms Dinoire, who has two children, said that her ability to speak had also improved. "Each day that passes, I think, above all, of the donor and her family whom I cannot thank enough. Thanks to them, I have become visible again."

Before the transplant, Ms Dinoire's lipless gums and teeth were permanently exposed, and most of her nose was missing, torn off by her Labrador, who attacked her as she lay unconscious after taking an overdose of sleeping pills.

She says she still only leaves her apartment if accompanied and has not replaced the mirrors she removed from her home after the accident.

Ms Dinoire still receives an anti-rejection treatment every week and takes 10 pills every day. Several times a day she must also examine a small patch of skin from the donor on her stomach, that would alert her if the tissue was being rejected.