US woman shows face transplant after chimp mauling

PHOTO: US woman shows face transplant after chimp mauling

WASHINGTON - Doctors on Thursday released the first pictures of a US mother who received a face transplant operation two months ago following a mauling in 2009 by a friend's frenzied chimpanzee.

Charla Nash, who was blinded and also lost her hands in the attack, was shown reclining in a hospital bed, eyelids closed, in pictures distributed by Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

"I will now be able to do things I once took for granted," Nash said in a statement.

"I will be able to smell. I will be able to eat normally. I will no longer be disfigured. I will have lips and will speak clearly once again. I will be able to kiss and hug loved ones. I am tremendously grateful to the donor and her family."

In the attack, Nash lost her eyes, nose, upper jaw and lips and most of the soft tissue in her face, doctors said. The donor has remained anonymous at the family's request.

The world's first full face transplant took place in Spain, and doctors at Vall d'Hebron hospital in Barcelona showed off their work to the public in July 2010.

The first successful partial face transplant was performed in France in 2005 on Isabelle Dinoire, a 38-year-old woman who had been mauled by her dog.

Since then about a dozen face transplant operations have been carried out in China, the United States and Spain.