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China Unveils a New Face

In what may be a first for the nation, a hospital reports transplanting facial parts onto a man.

April 15, 2006|From the Associated Press

A man whose face was badly disfigured after an attack by a black bear received a partial face transplant Friday, in what a hospital described as a first for China.

If confirmed by independent experts, this would make China the second country to conduct such a procedure.

The partial face transplant came half a year after doctors in Amiens, France, performed the world's first such procedure, transplanting lips, a chin and a nose onto a woman who had been attacked by a dog.

In Friday's operation, a statement from Xijing Hospital in the central city of Xi'an said Li Guoxing was given a new cheek, upper lip, nose and an eyebrow from a single donor. No details were provided about the donor.

"Up to now, the patient is in good condition," the military hospital said. "The operation was successful. It is predicted that the wounds can be healed within one week."

In its statement, the hospital said Li had been mauled by a black bear in the southern province of Yunnan two years ago.

Photos released by the hospital showed the extent of Li's injuries, his right eye nearly closed, and the cheek and lip below badly ripped, exposing flesh.

Another photo showed Li, after the operation, lying with a tube in his mouth, his face puffy and with surgical scars running from his lower left ear above his nose to his right ear and around his chin.

Li's surgery began Thursday and was completed Friday morning, the hospital said.

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