11 Jun 2011

US surgeons perform full face transplant

4:57 pm on 11 June 2011

Surgeons in the United States say they have successfully completed a full facial transplant on a woman who was mauled by a chimpanzee.

Charla Nash had her nose, lips, eyelids and hands ripped off by her friend's pet chimpanzee in 2009. She was also left blind.

A team of doctors at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital worked for more than 20 hours to complete the face transplant - the third such operation performed in the United States.

Ms Nash's plastic surgeon Bohdan Pomahac says her recovery and future look excellent.

"The first aspect of healing and integration has already occurred. What we are going to see over the next three months is gradual return of sensation to the face, and over the next three to six months we'll start to see motor function so that Charla should be able to smile, should able to gradually control her lips and from the beginning her speech will be rather clear."

Charla Nash was also given two new hands but they later had to be removed.

The chimp's owner, Sandra Herold, died last year but the Nash family is suing her estate for $50 million for negligence and recklessness.