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First Ever Face Transplant In China Successfully Performed

Doctors in China have performed the country's first face transplant, and the second such operation in the world.//

A surgical team at the Xijing hospital in Xi'an replaced two-thirds of the face of 30-year-old Li Guoxing, who was disfigured after a bear mauled him two years ago, Zhang Yingzhi, the president of the hospital, said Friday.

"The surgery is even more complex than the first face transplant in France in November last year," said Han Yan, deputy director with the hospital's plastic surgery department.

In the operation that lasted 14 hours, Li was given a new cheek, upper lip, nose, and an eyebrow from a single donor. The donor was male and had been declared brain-dead before the operation.

Li was recovering satisfactorily, but would need at least six months to recover completely, said Guo Shuzhong, director of the plastic surgery department who performed the transplant.

Li and his wife would also need time to overcome the psychological problems of adjusting to his new face, Guo added.

Li had lived as a recluse since his "horrific disfigurement" by the bear in 2004. The hospital performed the surgery free of charge after learning of his plight and his poverty.

Surgeons in France carried out the world's first such operation on 38-year-old Isabelle Dinoire whose lips and nose were ripped off by a dog.

--Edited IANS

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