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Patient is thriving one year after extraordinary surgery
Last December, a multi-disciplinary team of doctors and surgeons at Cleveland Clinic performed the first near-total face transplant in the United States. A year later, the patient – Connie Culp of Unionport, Ohio – can smell, taste and breathe normally. She had lost those abilities after a shotgun blast destroyed the middle part of her face in 2004.

Saving Face
Maria Siemionow, MD, PhD, and a team of 30 specialists made medical history in December 2008 when they performed the first face transplant in the United States.

Restoring Lives and Limbs
Researchers work to develop and deploy new methods for regenerating damaged bone, muscle and nerves.

Near-total human face transplantation for a severely disfigured patient in the USA
The widely publicized milestone of Maria Siemionow, MD, PhD, and colleagues was recently detailed in The Lancet. The article describes the rationale and innovative procedures for the “tailored composite tissue allograft” for the woman who became the first U.S. patient to receive a near-total (80 percent) face transplant.

Behind a Face Transplant Breakthrough, Time.com
The Cleveland Clinic successfully performed the world's first near-total facial transplant, lifting a face nearly whole from a recently deceased donor and grafting it onto an anonymous woman who had suffered extreme disfigurement to more than 80% of her own face. The breakthrough achieved by Maria Siemionow and her team was a longtime goal in facial surgery.

First U.S. Face Transplant Described, NYTimes.com
In a 23-hour operation, transplant surgeons have given nearly an entire new face to a woman with facial damage so severe that she could not eat on her own or breathe without a hole in her windpipe. Dr. Maria Siemionow led the surgical team, which took turns at the operating table so the doctors could rest, sleep and share expertise.

For the First Time in U.S., Extensive Face Transplant Is Performed, WashingtonPost.com
Surgeons have performed the first face transplant in the United States, the Cleveland Clinic announced. A team led by reconstructive surgeon Maria Siemionow replaced about 80 percent of a disfigured woman's face with that of a deceased female donor.

Doctor: Face transplant patient 'very happy' with procedure, CNN.com
Dr. Maria Siemionow, head of plastic surgery at the famed Cleveland Clinic, led a surgical team that recently performed the first face transplant in the United States. Siemionow and CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta talked with CNN's Larry King about the reconstructive procedure and the prognosis for the patient.

Cleveland Clinic Completes Nation's First 'Almost' Total Face Transplant, FOXNews.com
A woman so horribly disfigured she was willing to risk her life to do something about it has undergone the nation's first near-total face transplant, the Cleveland Clinic announced. Reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow and a team of other specialists replaced 80 percent of the woman's face with that of a female cadaver in a bold and controversial operation certain to stoke the debate over the ethics of such surgery.

First U.S. Face Transplant Performed In Cleveland, NPR.org
A severely disfigured American woman is the first recipient of a nearly total new face. Surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic performed the procedure. While a face transplant may be viewed as life-enhancing, many medical ethicists worry that patients must completely understand that they are putting themselves at great risk for surgery that is not life-saving. Plastic surgeon Frank Papay, chief of dermatology and plastic surgery for the Cleveland Clinic, was part of the 12-member surgery team and described the operation.

First U.S. face transplant completed at Cleveland Clinic, USAToday.com
Cleveland Clinic surgeons performed the first near-total U.S. face transplant. Face transplants have been controversial because, unlike transplants of solid organs such as the heart, they aren't life-saving. Maria Siemionow, the director of plastic surgery research and training, transplanted 80% of the donor's face.

Cleveland Clinic Joins Face Race With Near-Total Face Transplant Success, ABCNews.com
In a surgical first for the United States, a team of eight surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic have performed a near-total facial transplant on a patient. Dr. Maria Siemionow, head of plastic surgery,  revealed her thoughts on the importance of such an operation during the interview, noting that a face transplant could be "as important as giving a new life to someone.”

First face transplant in U.S. is performed, LATimes.com
A woman being treated at the Cleveland Clinic has an almost entirely new face following the most extensive facial transplant ever performed. Dr. Maria Siemionow, the Cleveland Clinic plastic surgeon who performed the marathon procedure, is well known among microsurgery specialists, and colleagues were quick to praise the achievement.

First Face Transplant in U.S. Performed at Cleveland Clinic,Wall Street Journal.com
Dr. Maria Siemionow, the Cleveland Clinic plastic surgeon who performed the marathon procedure, is well known among microsurgery specialists, and colleagues were quick to praise the achievement. The face’s central role in human identity makes the notion of a face transplant uniquely interesting for humanistic rather than technical reasons.

Face transplant patient regains self-confidence, CNN.com
The woman who received the first-ever near-total face transplant in the United States told her doctor she has regained her self-confidence, said Dr. Maria Siemionow, head of plastic surgery research at the Cleveland Clinic and leader of the transplant team. The patient, who prefers to be anonymous, is finally able to breathe through her nose, smell, eat solid foods and drink out of a cup.

1st U.S. Face Transplant Patient's Message. CBSNews.com
When Connie Culp heard a little kid call her a monster because of the shotgun blast that left her face horribly disfigured, she pulled out her driver's license to show the child what she used to look like. A plastic surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Risal Djohan, got a look at her injuries two months later. "He told me he didn't think, he wasn't sure, if he could fix me, but he'd try," Culp recalled. Years later, as the nation's first face transplant recipient, she's stepped forward to show the rest of the world what she looks like now.

Face-Transplant Patient Emerges, Wall Street Journal.com
Connie Culp underwent a 22-hour procedure at the Cleveland Clinic in December to restore function to a face that was ravaged by a shotgun blast in 2004. She is the first U.S. recipient of a face transplant, a procedure that embodies both the promise of major medical advances and the ethical and economic challenges they can pose for society.

Face Transplant Patient to Donor Family: 'I Really Love Them for Being So Thoughtful', ABCNews.com
Connie Culp, the first face transplant patient in the United States, said she is forever grateful to her donor's family, "because without them, I wouldn't have a face." "So I just want to, frankly, tell them I really love them for being so thoughtful," Culp told Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview on "Good Morning America.

Face transplant patient: ‘I'm not a monster’, MSNBC.com
On Dec. 10, in a 22-hour operation, Dr. Maria Siemionow led a team of doctors who replaced 80 percent of Connie Culp’s face with bone, muscles, nerves, skin and blood vessels from another woman who had just died. In January, Culp was able to eat pizza, chicken and hamburgers for the first time in years.

Cleveland Clinic: Face transplant recipient goes home, WKYC.com
Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic say the nation's first face transplant recipient has left the hospital. According to doctors the woman is able to breathe on her own and is able to eat solid foods such as pizza and hamburgers on her own for the first time since the injury that disfigured her face.

Connie Culp, Nation's First Face Transplant Patient, Emerges, HuffingtonPost.com
Connie Culp stepped forward to show off the results of the nation's first face transplant, and her new look was a far cry from the puckered, noseless sight that made children run away in horror. Five years ago, a shotgun blast left a ghastly hole where the middle of her face had been. A plastic surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Risal Djohan, got a look at her injuries two months after the gunshot wound. "He told me he didn't think, he wasn't sure, if he could fix me, but he'd try," Culp recalled.

Surgeon Discusses Connie Culp Face Transplant, WashingtonPost.com
Connie Culp stepped forward to show off the results of the nation's first face transplant, and her new look was a far cry from the puckered, noseless sight that made children run away in horror. Risal Djohan, M.D., staff surgeon in the Departments of General Surgery and Transplantation at Cleveland Clinic and member of the team that performed the transplant, was online Wednesday, May 6, at 2:30 p.m. ET to discuss the operations and the recovery.

Local Woman Disclosed As First-Ever U.S. Face Transplant Patient, WTOV9.com
In a 22-hour procedure performed at the Cleveland Clinic in December, surgeons transplanted 80 percent of Connie Culp's face, essentially replacing her entire face, except for her upper eyelids, forehead, lower lip and chin. While Culp could have survived with her injuries, doctors insist that repairing her disfigurement was crucial to her quality of life.

First U.S. face transplant recipient, Chicago Tribune.com
Pictures of Connie Culp, face transplant recipient, and specialists at the Cleveland Clinic who performed the surgery.

First U.S. face transplant recipient thankful. Reuters.com
Connie Culp, who underwent the first face transplant surgery conducted in the United States, faced reporters and the world, and offered thanks to the team of doctors and surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic who performed the near-total face transplant on December 10, 2008, and changed her life.

Before and After: Both Sides of Face Transplant Surgery, Newsweek.com
When talking about face transplants, people are always curious whether the recipient "switched faces" with the donor. Eileen Sheil, the head of communications at the Cleveland Clinic confirmed that in face transplant surgeries the eyes, in fact, are not used. She also noted that the mannerisms and muscle movements—the animation that makes up much of the face and character—are still that of the living recipient.