A Connecticut woman whose face was attacked by a chimpanzee has received surgery for a full face transplant. The surgery, which took place in May, lasted 20 hours and took place at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
The attack on Charla Nash, 57, took place in February 2009. During the attack, she lost her hands, nose, lips and eyelids. The chimpanzee, named Travis, belonged to her friend and weighed 200 pounds. Chimpanzees are known to be 8 times stronger than humans.
Travis was shot and killed by police after the incident. The chimpanzee had previously been featured in television commercials for Coca-Cola and Old Navy.
Getting my face and hands together. That would be nice, Nash said before the surgery.
However, after the surgery, doctors could not successfully recover her hands and had to remove them due to pneumonia complications. Still, there is hope that she could retry to get a hand transplant again later after some time.
She looks fantastic, Nash's daughter Briana told NBC's Today Show. She said her mother had recovered her original features.
She looks just like everybody else, she said.
Over the next few months, she will grow more control over facial muscles and feel more, allowing her to breathe through her nose and smell things. Nash still has an optic nerve, even though the chimp attack destroyed her eyes. However, she still remains blind.
The operation was led by Dr. Bodan Pomahac with 30-member surgical team at Brigham and Women's Hospital. This was the third full face transplant in the United States.
Nash's family has sued the estate of the chimp's owner, Sandra Herold, for $50 million and is seeking to sue the state for $150 million, claiming state officials could have prevented the attack. Herold died in 2010 due to a ruptured aneurysm.
* WARNING * Photo below is graphic