Doctors in northwest China have successfully carried out the country’s first face transplant. Chinese surgeons performed a partial transplant on Li Guoxing, 30, whose face had been badly disfigured after he was attacked by a bear in 2004.

“The surgery is even more complex than the first face transplant in France in November last year,” says Han Yan, MD, a deputy director at Xijing Hospital in the central city of Xian.

According to Chinese reports, a team of physicians replaced two-thirds of Guoxing’s face, mostly on the right side. He was given a new cheek, nose, upper lip and an eyebrow from a single donor. Physicians estimate that it will take 6 months for the new face to develop any feeling.

News reports say the donor was a man who had been declared brain-dead before the operation. The donor’s family requested that his identity and other additional information be withheld from publication.

[ABC News, April 14, 2006]