Chinese man undergoes face rebuilding surgery

Updated: 2006-11-17 15:59

Chen Yong is carried out of a surgery room after an operation, which is said to be the first step in a one-year face rebuilding project, at a hospital in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, November 15, 2006. [Xinhua]

Xi'an -- Chinese doctors performed an operation Wednesday to rebuild the face of a man severely disfigured by a construction site accident, in northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

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The nine-hour operation on Wednesday, which is said to be the first step in a one-year face rebuilding project, was "more successful than we expected", according to the stomatological hospital of the Fourth Military Medical University in Xi'an, the provincial capital of Shaanxi.

Chen Yong, a 36-year-old villager from the southwestern municipality of Chongqing, was repairing a concrete mixer at a construction site this July in Chongqing when his head became trapped in the machine.

Nearly three fifths of his face was destroyed. Several bones were broken and he was no longer able to chew, swallow or speak.

"Today we repositioned the broken bones on the left part of his faces and rebuilt his right eye socket. In a couple of months, we will repair soft facial tissue, like muscles, in another operation," said He Lisheng, Chen's surgeon.

"After that, we will repair his chin and lower jaw and mend the lost part of his face with bones and skin from his own body," said He.

"I hope the operation will be successful and my husband will get his face back," said Li Xiuqing, Chen's wife, who waited outside the surgery room throughout the operation.

Chen's boss will cover the surgical expenses of more than 100,000 yuan (US$12,700), according to Li.

Xi'an was home to China's first face transplant surgery in April this year when doctors helped rebuild the face of a 30-year-old farmer attacked by a bear.

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