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China's First Face Transplant Recipient Smiles
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The nerves of the donated tissue received by China's first face transplant recipient, Li Guoxing, are alive and active, reports the Xijing Hospital in northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

A hospital source described both the physical and mental condition of Li as "pretty good."

The hospital showed on Tuesday afternoon a video of the patient which had been recorded earlier in the day. It could be seen the sutures on Li's face had been removed and swelling on his face gone down.  

A nurse brought him eggs and steamed bread and the patient ate while listening to people chatting. He looked happy. 

Li's smile remains lopsided as the nerves on the right side of his face aren't yet functioning properly but the left side showed his happiness.

Guo Shuzhong, one of Li's doctors, said the transplant had been a one hundred percent success and added that the speed of recovery was beyond the hospital's expectations.

The patient will not leave his special ward for 30 days to guard against infections, said Guo. Although he has survived the critical post-surgery period Li will have to wait another two months to know if the operation has been a complete success.

Li, a 30-year old of the Lisu ethnic group, lives in a mountainous village in China's southwestern province of Yunnan. His face was disfigured in an attack by a bear and he received a partial face transplant in an operation in a northwestern Chinese hospital on April 14. This was the second  such operation with the first having been carried out in France last year. 

(Xinhua News Agency April 26, 2006)

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