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French docs perform first face transplant

LONDON, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- French doctors have performed the world's first face transplant, according to a BBC report Wednesday.

In a procedure that lasted several hours, surgeons grafted facial skin, muscles and veins from a brain-dead donor onto the nose, lips and chin of a 38-year-old French woman who had been severely injured in a dog attack.

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The controversial procedure has given the patient a "hybrid" face, meaning she will not look like she did before the attack, or like her donor, the report said.

The operation took place over the weekend at a hospital in Amiens, France, by a surgical team led by professors Bernard Devauchelle and Jean Michel Dubernard.

U.S. physicians are researching the novel procedure stateside, but until now the only research done in the United States has involved cadaver-to-cadaver face grafting, according to the BBC.

Aside from the ethical concerns, risks of the operation include those associated with any major surgical procedure, including clotting of blood vessels in the grafted tissue and failure of immunosuppressants.

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