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First Partial Face Transplant Performed in France

Recipient needs long-term immunosuppression, rehabilitation and psychological support

FRIDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- A 38-year-old French woman who received the world's first partial face allotransplantation will require long-term immunosuppression, rehabilitation and psychological support, according to the two French hospitals involved.

A team of 50, directed by Bernard Devauchelle of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Amiens, performed the face transplant Nov. 27 on a woman mauled by a dog in June 2005, according to the hospital. The donor was a brain-dead multiorgan donor whose other organs were also harvested.

The recipient is being followed by a team led by Jean-Michel Dubernard of the Edouard Herriot Hospital in Lyon. She is receiving long-term immunosuppression similar to that used in hand transplantation, including polyclonal antibodies, tacrolimus, prednisolone, mycophenolate mofetil, and an infusion of bone marrow stem cells at days 4 and 11.

Skin biopsies will detect any early signs of acute rejection, which will be treated with the therapy successfully used in hand transplantation, according to a hospital statement. The recipient will undergo rehabilitation to recover labial function and phonation, and regular psychological support.

"The patient is highly motivated and ready to cope with the treatment and the rehabilitation program," according to the statement.

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