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 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.
A man receives a face
transplant operation in Xi'an, the capital of northwest China's Shaanxi
province, April 14, 2006. The man, surnamed Li, suffered severe injuries
from a bear attack in 2004. He underwent a face transplant operation at a
Xi'an hospital with the help of a voluntary organization. The operation
started on Thursday and lasted 13 hours. According to the hospital, the
operation was successful. It is the first successful face transplant
operation in China. [newsphoto]
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
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
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
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.
(China Daily 04/15/2006 page2)