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Last Updated: Monday February 06 2006 19:57 GMT

Face transplant woman speaks out

Isabelle Dinoire talks to reporters about the operation
The first person in the world to have a face transplant has talked about her experience for the first time.

Isabelle Dinoire's face was badly damaged after she was attacked by her dog last June.

So doctors performed an operation to replace the woman's mouth, nose and chin area with that from a donor.

Although Mrs Dinoire is still getting used to her new mouth, she told reporters that the surgery has given her "great courage".

She said that after the attack she felt a lot of physical and mental pain, and that she was stared at when she went out with her children.

But following the operation she now feels able to go into town without worrying about people looking at her.

Success

Isabelle Dinoire
So far the operation has been a success, but Mrs Dinoire still has to take special medication to make sure her body does not reject the new skin.

She is still learning to use her new mouth, and is doing exercises to help strengthen the muscles in her face.

At the moment, face transplants are not performed in the UK as some people are worried they're not a good idea.

There are concerns that some patients wouldn't be able to cope with looking like a different person.

Face transplant
1. Triangle of skin and muscle tissue is cut away from donor's face
2. Blood vessels and nerves from face section are connected to patient using micro surgery



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