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Happy to have ‘face like everyone else’

TUESDAY, FEB. 7, 2006

AMIENS, France – The Frenchwoman who received the world’s first partial face transplant says she now looks “like everyone else” and hopes to resume a normal life.

Isabelle Dinoire showed off her new features to the public Monday, speaking in a heavily slurred voice. She explained how she was disfigured by a dog bite last year, and she thanked the family of the donor who gave her new lips, a chin and nose.

A circular scar was still visible where the face tissue was attached in the 15-hour operation in Amiens on Nov. 27.

“I have a face like everyone else,” Dinoire said at her first news conference since the groundbreaking surgery in November.

“A door to the future is opening.”

Dinoire, a divorced mother of two teenage daughters, in her late 30s, said she was wrestling with personal problems at the time of the dog attack and “took some drugs to forget,” which knocked her out. She said she was passed out when the dog bit her, and she did not immediately realize the extent of her disfigurement when she awoke.

“When I woke up, I tried to light a cigarette, and I didn’t understand why I couldn’t hold it between my lips,” she said.

Doctors have said they hoped Dinoire would break her smoking habit because it can lead to complications affecting her recovery.

She said she “accepted immediately” when her surgeons suggested the transplant.

But the procedure did not restore the way she looked before the dog bit her.


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