Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Connie Culp: The world’s first full face transplant

Keyword: Connie Culp

Connie Culp is the first person to undergo the procedure to have a full face transplant. The Ohio resident was shot in the face by her husband, Thomas Culp, four years ago. He then turned the gun on himself, but survived. He went to prison for seven years. The gun shot resulted in the loss of bone structure in Connie’s face. Although she is lucky to be alive, she lost the bone that supported her face, had no nose, couldn’t breath without a tracheotomy, could not smell, drink or eat. She underwent several reconstructive surgeries, but they didn’t help her much.

In December of 2008, Connie Culp became the first person in the world to receive a face transplant. Surgeons removed the skin, the bone structures underneath, the nerves, facial muscles, lower eyelids, and added the palate from a local donor. After 22 hours of surgery they had successfully attached the donor face to Connie. Doctors say Connie’s facial nerves will slowly regenerate, and will allow her to show emotion. Connie is already able to smell and taste again, and she can drink coffee from a cup, and breathe from her new nose. More importantly, her pain, which was constant before is nearly gone.

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