Stephen M. Silverman
December 05, 2005 09:00 AM

The recipient of plastic surgery’s latest wonder – the world’s first partial face transplant – is said to be thriving one week after her groundbreaking surgery, according to one of her two lead surgeons in France.

“She is perfect,” Dr. Jean-Michel Dubernard told reporters at a press gathering about the appearance of the 38-year-old female patient, whose face had been disfigured by a dog in May. The attack left her with severe facial injuries that her doctors said made it difficult for her to speak and eat.

Dubernard said physicians had been worried about the potentially negative mental effects from receiving part of someone else’s face, but added: “Psychologically, she is doing very well.”

She is likely to remain hospitalized for four to six weeks, the Associated Press reports.

On Nov. 27, in an experimental operation, the divorced mother of two teenage daughters (her name has not been divulged) received a section of a nose, lips and chin in the 15-hour transplant procedure.

Before the operation, surgeon Sylvie Testelin told the French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche that the woman “had no more face. … She only had her eyes, and when she saw her daughters she cried.”

After the surgery, “Her first words were ‘Thank you’,” Bernard Devauchelle, one of the surgeons, told the news conference in Lyon, Reuters reported.

He said the patient regained consciousness 24 hours after the operation and there were no post-operative complications. She had been eating and talking since early this week.

“She saw her face and is happy,” added Dubernard.

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