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Partial Face Transplant Patient Doing Well
Date:12/12/2007

French doctors report woman is eating, drinking and smiling 18 months later

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- A 38-year-old French woman who underwent a partial face transplant after being mauled by her dog is eating, drinking and even smiling 18 months after the landmark surgery.

The surgery was the first ever partial face transplantation and, as such, continues to break new ground, both medically and ethically. In the Dec. 13 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the surgeons who performed the operation report on the woman's progress.

"There's a whole new technology of being able to transplant or transfer composite tissue, and that's one of the exciting new things, and whenever you're talking about pioneering efforts, you're talking about where does somebody go over the line," said Dr. Seth Thaller, chairman of plastic surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "It's crossing frontiers, and only time will tell."

The patient, Isabelle Dinoire, was attacked by her dog in May of 2005, resulting in the amputation of part of her nose, both upper and lower lips, her chin and parts of both cheeks.

Controversy had already surrounded the surgery when it was first reported at the end of 2005.

There were allegations that the woman had attempted suicide by overdosing on pills the night her dog mauled her.

And the lead doctor, Jean Michel Dubernard, was reported to lead a double life as a politician, a former deputy mayor of Lyon, and one of the most powerful members of the French National Assembly. Dubernard, a chain smoker, gained notoriety after he transplanted a new hand to patient Clint Hallam in 1998. It was later revealed that Hallam had lost his hand while serving time in prison.

Dubernard and his team grafted a nose, lips and chin onto the woman's face on Nov. 27, 2005, in Amiens, France. The donor was a brain-dead, 46-year-old woman wit
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