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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 November 2006, 10:43 GMT
Face transplant woman can smile
The results of the operation have been dramatic

The recipient of the first partial face transplant has recovered so well she can go out without people noticing her scars, her surgeon has said.

Isabelle Dinoire, from Amiens, France, received the graft from a brain-dead donor after being mauled by her dog.

One year on, her surgeon Bernard Devauchelle said she continued to make excellent progress and that he had plans to carry out more operations.

Mrs Dinoire has told him she could smile and looked like herself again.

When she is in a crowd, she doesn't stick out as 'the transplant patient'
Bernard Devauchelle

Professor Devauchelle, from the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Amiens, France, told AFP news agency: "Aesthetically, the transplant has fitted in very well with the shape of her face. People who hadn't seen her before her accident now recognise her, which is very interesting.

"When she is in a crowd, she doesn't stick out as 'the transplant patient', and this is important.

"You still see scars, of course. From time to time, there are minor inflammations which occur near wires that lie deep beneath the skin.

"But elsewhere, the scar lines have almost completely faded. If she puts on a little bit of makeup, she looks fine."

He said her facial sensitivity, in terms of warmth and tactility, had been restored and facial mobility had returned. She is able to eat and drink without problems, and still smokes.

When the 38-year-old Frenchwoman, who lost her nose, lips and chin in the attack, received the transplant to her lower face, there were concerns about tissue rejection.

Professor Devauchelle said this had occurred twice, once in December and again in June, but both were successfully controlled with immunosuppressant drugs.

Since the operation, Mrs Dinoire has moved home to a new town to avoid media intrusion.

Professor Devauchelle said: "As soon as she finds a job her social life will be rebuilt too."

Since the operation, Li Guoxing, from China underwent an operation to receive a new upper lip, cheek and nose, and in October, Peter Butler at London's Royal Free Hospital has been given permission to carry out a full face transplant.

He is currently seeking suitable candidates.

Mrs Dinoire speaks after her face transplant

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