World's first face transplant patient dies at 49

Isabelle Dinoire.
(Image credit: Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images)

Isabelle Dinoire, the French woman who received the world's first face transplant in 2005, died earlier this year, French doctors announced Tuesday.

Dinoire, 49, died on April 22 "following a long illness," Amiens Hospital said in a statement. The hospital said it waited to share the news because her family wanted time to grieve in private. French media is reporting she died of complications from her most recent operation. In the winter, Le Figaro reports, she suffered a rejection of the transplants, and she lost part of the use of her lips. Dinoire had to take several anti-rejection medications, and those also contributed to the occurrence of two cancers, CNN says.

Dinoire was mauled by her dog, and instead of reconstructive surgery, doctors stitched the nose, chin, and mouth of a brain-dead donor to her face. She also received the lower part of the face of a woman who committed suicide. In a 2006 interview, Dinoire said, "It may be someone else's face, but when I look in the mirror, I see me."

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