BEIJING, April 15 -- A Chinese man whose face was badly disfigured after an attack by a black bear received a partial face transplant on Friday, in a cutting-edge medical procedure that a hospital statement described as a first for China.
A man who receives a face transplant operation is shown in this photo taken on April 14, 2006.[Xinhua Photo]
A statement from Xijing Hospital, a military hospital in the central city of Xi'an, said Li Guoxing was given a new cheek, upper lip, nose, and an eyebrow from a single donor. No details were given about the donor.
"Up to now, the patient is in good condition," the statement said. "The operation was successful. It is predicted that the wounds can be healed within one week."
"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.
The patient, 30, had two thirds of his face mostly on the right side replaced in an operation that lasted 14 hours and ended on Friday morning. The hospital performed the surgery free of charge after learning of his plight and his poverty.
Li is recovering satisfactorily, said Guo Shuzhong, director of the plastic surgery department, who performed the transplant.
However, it will take six months for feeling to be established in his new face, Guo said.
He also needed to overcome psychological and ethical problems.
Guo said that the donor was male and had been declared brain-dead before the operation.
The partial face transplant comes only six months after doctors in Amiens, France, performed the world's first such procedure, transplanting lips, a chin and a nose onto a woman who had been attacked by a dog.
In its statement, the Chinese hospital said Li had been badly mauled in an encounter with a black bear in the southern province of Yunnan two years ago.
A photo showed Li after the operation, lying with a tube in his mouth, his face puffy and with surgical scars running from his lower left ear above his nose to his right ear and around his chin.
(Source: China Daily)