PHOTOS: Famous Face Transplants

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    Connie Culp, who underwent the first face transplant surgery in the U.S. in December 2008, speaks to the media at a news conference at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, on Tuesday, May 5, 2009. The 46-year-old mother of two lost most of the midsection of her face to a gunshot in 2004. The initial surgery by the Cleveland Clinic team took place in December 2008.

    AP Photo/Amy Sancetta
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    In 2004, Culp's husband, Thomas, shot her before turning the gun on himself. He went to prison for seven years. His wife was left clinging to life. The blast shattered her nose, cheeks, the roof of her mouth and an eye. Hundreds of fragments of shotgun pellet and bone splinters were embedded in her face. She needed a tube into her windpipe to breathe. Only her upper eyelids, forehead, lower lip and chin were left.

    AP Photo/Cleveland Clinic
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    This is a photo of Connie Culp, after an injury to her face, left, and then as she appears today. Culp left the hospital Feb. 5 and has returned for periodic follow-up care. She has suffered only one mild rejection episode that was controlled with a single dose of steroid medicines, her doctors said. She must take immune-suppressing drugs for the rest of her life, but her dosage has been greatly reduced and she needs only a few pills a day.

    AP Photo/Cleveland Clinic
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    Oct. 2006: Isabelle Dinoire, the woman who received the world's first partial face transplant in Nov. 2005. She said that she still struggles with the face she sees in the mirror, the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph reported Monday, Nov. 3, 2008.

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    Feb. 2006: Isabelle Dinoire looks at a photograph of her face taken after surgery during her first appearance at a press conference in France. "It's not hers, it's not mine, it's somebody else's," Dinoire said in an exclusive interview with journalist Vanessa Pontet on the TV show Reporters, broadcast in France the week of Nov. 2, 2008.

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    June 2007: This photo shows Dinoire 18 months after transplantation, wearing no makeup. "Before the operation, I expected my new face would look like me," Dinoire said on the show Reporters, "but it turned out after the operation that it was half me and half her."

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    Nov. 2006: Dinoire is shown wearing makeup, one year after transplantation. In May 2005, Dinoire was rushed to the hospital after her dog mauled her face. Six months later, she was given a new nose, mouth and chin at Amiens Hospital in France.

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    June 2001: Dinoire is shown 4 years before the dog bite that severely disfigured her face.

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    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 Tuesday. Reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow, shown in this file photo, and a team of other specialists replaced 80 percent of the woman's face with that of a female cadaver a couple of weeks ago in a bold and controversial operation certain to stoke the debate over the ethics of such surgery. The patient's name and age were not released, and the hospital said her family wanted the reason for her transplant to remain confidential. Here's a look at other face transplant from around the world.

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    Doctors transplanted a new lower face from a donor, giving the patient new cheeks, a nose and mouth. Six months later, he could smile and blink.

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    Last year, a French team operated on a 29-year-old man with tumors that blurred his features in a face that looked almost monstrous.

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    Nov. 1, 2006: Face transplant recipient Li Guoxing undergoes the second phase of his plastic surgery in Xi'an, in north China's Shaanxi province.

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    Oct. 31, 2006: A doctor examines , Li Guoxing, as he meets with the press in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi province. He is the first person in China to have received a partial face transplant.

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    July 29. 2006: Li, who underwent surgery in the Xijing Hospital in central China's city of Xi'an, expressed thanks to the doctors and nurses after being discharged and said he was "very happy to go home."

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    July 29. 2006: Li Guoxing, a Chinese farmer who was badly disfigured in a bear attack, speaks as a picture of his injuries is displayed at a press conference in his home town of Kunming. Guoxing was the world's second full face transplant patient. In Dec. 2008, Chinese media reported that he had died. While the cause of death was not released, officials believe it may have been connected to the immune suppressing drugs he was taking.