Woman mauled by chimpanzee gets face transplant

Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:50pm EDT
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By Lauren Keiper

BOSTON (Reuters) - A Connecticut woman mauled by a chimpanzee in 2009 has received a full face transplant, the third surgery of its kind performed in the country, Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital said on Friday.

Charla Nash, 57, was hurt after a friend's 200-pound pet chimpanzee Travis went on a rampage. She lost her hands, lips, nose and eyes, leaving her blind and disfigured after the attack. The animal was eventually shot and killed by police.

"To us, she's not a woman who was mauled by the chimpanzee," said Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, who led the surgical team.

"To us, Charla is a courageous, strong person who inspired the team to do everything possible using our collective expertise to restore her quality of life."

Nash's face was rebuilt last month by a medical team of more than 30 physicians, nurses, anesthesiologists and residents in a challenging surgical procedure was made more complex by a double hand transplant.

Working for more than 20 hours, the team replaced Nash's nose, lips, facial skin, muscles of facial animation and nerves.

As part of the surgery, Nash also received teeth and palate from the anonymous donor.

The hospital said the double hand transplant was successful, but the hands did not thrive after complications from pneumonia and were removed.   Continued...

<p>Face transplant recipient Charla Nash is pictured after her injury, in this undated photograph released on June 10, 2011. REUTERS/Brigham and Women's Hospital/Handout</p>