FUZHOU, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- A 17-year-old girl from southeast China's Fujian Province has received a face transplant that was grown on her chest.
Xu Jianmei, a resident of a small fishing village, was severely disfigured in a fire that occurred when she was five years old. She lost her chin, eyelids, and a large part of her right ear.
She was not able to receive treatment during the optimal treatment time, as her family could not afford it.
But last year, the chance to get a new face came to her after doctors boldly proposed growing a new face on her chest using tissue grafted from her leg.
"First, we took a piece of blood vessel fascia from her thigh and implanted it in her chest. Then we inserted a skin expander beneath the part of skin where the blood vessel fascia was planted, so that the part could expand and produce enough skin for her new face," Jiang Chenghong, Xu's surgeon, explained.
After making sure that the tissue making up a new face can be kept alive, it can be transplanted to the patient's face.
The last stage of the surgery was completed last Monday. Xu's new face was successfully transplanted. Doctors believe that the wounds left by the surgery will heal over the next several weeks.
"With her new face, she will be able to express herself in a more precise way. She will even be able to blush when her emotions change", said Jiang," but it may take a long time."
A similar operation was conducted in late September, when a man in Fujian received a new nose that was grown on his forehead using tissue taken from his ribs.
Less than 10 surgeries of this kind have been performed in China.
(To watch the video story, please visit China View on YouTube: http://xhne.ws/QXMCt)