Face Transplant: 'Resilience' Saw Woman Through

Meeting the Challenges of a New Face

Though the surgeons regard Culp's recovery as a success so far, the new face means a lifelong adjustment. Culp continues to take powerful immunosuppressive drugs to reduce the risk that her body will reject her new face. She already endured a minor episode of rejection about a month and a half after the surgery; fortunately, doctors were able to treat the problem quickly with high doses of the anti-rejection drugs.

Culp's new face is not done changing. In the coming weeks and months, doctors expect swelling to go down and even more function to return. The advances will be gradual, and they will require determination on Culp's part to maintain exercise therapy and continue to monitor the graft for any potential problems.

But Culp is no stranger to challenges. Since her injury, she has learned to read Braille. She has adapted to her new life using special serving cups, talking calculators and other tools to manage daily chores.

Face Transplant Patient Still Faces Complex Issues

Still, she said that she occasionally still feels frustrated by her situation.

"Oh yeah, I wouldn't be human if I didn't," she said.

She said that she has forgiven her husband -- and at his 2005 hearing, she said that she would possibly take him back after his seven-year prison sentence.

"I don't regret any of that," she said on her relationship with him. "I'll always love him, he was my first love."

Face Transplant Operations Go Global

Frenchwoman Isabelle Dinoire was the world's first patient to have a face transplant and appears to be doing well today. After Dinoire became the first recipient of a partial face transplant in November 2005, similar surgeries in various countries have followed.

Most recently, on April 9, a team of surgeons and staff led by Dr. Bohdan Pomahac of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston replaced a large portion of the face of a man who required facial reconstruction after injuries he suffered in a severe traumatic accident. In a marathon 17-hour surgery, the Boston team transferred the nose, hard palate, upper lip, facial skin, muscles of facial animation and the nerves that power them and provide sensation from a deceased donor to the unidentified recipient.

Prior to this, on the weekend of April 4, a team of doctors at Henri Mondor hospital in Paris performed the world's first simultaneous partial-face and double-hand transplant on a 30-year-old burn victim.

Good Morning America producers contributed to this report.

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