French transplant woman feels new face now her own
The French woman who underwent the world's first partial face transplant said on Monday that she was grateful simply to have features "like everybody else" and had come to terms with her new appearance.india Updated: Feb 06, 2006 23:54 IST
The French woman who underwent the world's first partial face transplant said on Monday that she was grateful simply to have features "like everybody else" and had come to terms with her new appearance.
Isabelle Dinoire, 38, smiled and laughed awkwardly in her first appearance before reporters since the operation in November and spoke in slurred and laboured tones.
Despite her trauma, Dinoire said the transplant was now part of her and she did not refer to any identity crisis caused by having part of someone else's face grafted on to her.
"I can now smile and make faces so I think I have taken over the face," Dinoire told a packed news conference at Amiens hospital 110 km north of Paris.
She was disfigured by her own dog last May as she lay prostrate after taking medicines to cope with personal problems.
Dinoire still has fine scar lines running from her nose down to her jaw, dividing her upper face from the transplanted lower area, and does not seem to be able to close her mouth.
Doctors said Dinoire would never look like the donor because her different bone structure meant the nose, lips and chin transplant would adapt to her physical form.
They said Dinoire was over the initial shock of the attack that disfigured her, citing as proof the fact that she now faced the world without the mask she wore for several months after being mauled.
"Since the day of the operation I have had a face like everybody else," Dinoire said.
"I am now able to open my mouth and eat. Recently, I have also been able to feel my lips, my nose, my mouth," she said, adding that feeling was returning slowly and she felt no pain.
"Every day, when I left my house, I had to face up to people's stares and what they were thinking," she said.
Doctors did not show of a picture of Dinoire before the attack or before the operation, although she said she was happy when she looked in the mirror for the first time after surgery.
Asked about her plans for the future, she said: "I want to resume a normal life."