‘I’m not a monster, I was shot in the face’
In 2004, Connie Culp’s face was horribly disfigured when her husband shot at her. On Tuesday, 30 surgeries later, she showed the world her new face: she is the first US recipient of a near-total face transplant.world Updated: May 07, 2009 02:07 IST
Once while shopping, she heard a little kid say: “You said there were no real monsters, Mommy, and there’s one right there.” Culp pulled out her driver’s licence to show the child what she had once looked like.
The shotgun blast shattered her nose, cheeks, the roof of her mouth and an eye. Her upper eyelids, forehead, lower lip and chin were left. Doctors took parts of her ribs to make cheekbones and made an upper jaw from her leg bones.
Last December, Dr Maria Siemionow and a team of doctors replaced 80 per cent of Culp’s face with bone, muscles, nerves, skin and blood vessels from a donor.
In January, Culp ate pizza for the first time in years.