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Charla Nash, chimpanzee attack victim, receives full face transplant in Boston

June 10, 2011|By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
  • Brigham and Women's Hospital Department of Plastic Surgery doctors work to replace the soft facial tissues of Connecticut chimpanzee attack victim Charla Nash. The transplant team of more than 30 physicians, nurses, anesthesiologists and residents last month rebuilt her face, the hospital announced on Friday. Nash who was mauled after a friend's 200-pound pet chimp went on a rampage.
Brigham and Women's Hospital Department of Plastic Surgery doctors… (Reuters )

A Connecticut woman who was attacked by a friend's 200-pound chimpanzee has received a full face transplant in a Boston hospital, the Associated Press reports.

The 57-year-old Charla Nash is not the first U.S. recipient of a full facial transplant (that distinction belongs to Dallas Wiens of Texas, whose operation Mary Forgione blogged about earlier this year).

Nash, who lost her hands, lips, nose and eyelids in the attack, received transplants for her face and hands late last month, but doctors had to remove the hands because of complications.

Though it takes time for such transplant recipients to regain muscular control of and feeling in their new faces, Forgione pointed out that the operation can lead to a "restoration of confidence" that alleviates at least some of the suffering for patients dealing with stigma and prejudice every day. 

Take Connie Culp, who received her transplant after being shot in the face by her husband.

"When somebody has a disfigurement or doesn't look as pretty as you, don't judge them," she said in this story. "You never know what happened to them and you never know what might happen to you . . . . it might all be taken away."

Follow me on Twitter @LAT_aminakhan.

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