The remarkable survivor of the world's first partial face transplant, a mother of two, once mauled beyond recognition, now bravely faces the world.
Isabelle Dinoire, 39, is shown in an photograph published in the New York Post. In it, she is on the streets of Valenciennes, her hometown in France, still bearing the long, thin scars that remain of the Nov. 27 surgery in which doctors transplanted a donor's nose, lips and chin.
It was the first outing in her hometown. Dinoire, still unable to wear makeup, has already been out in public in both Lyon and Amiens, where Drs. Bernard Devauchelle and Jean-Michel Dubernard performed the transplant.
Doctors hope to help prepare Dinoire for what friends and other people might say — and to adjust to the now inevitable exposure to media from around the world.
Dinoire lost her nose, lips and chin after being mauled by a dog last May. Tissues, muscles, arteries and veins were taken from a brain-dead donor — reportedly the victim of a suicide — and then attached to Dinoire's lower face. Her new appearance is reportedly close to what she used to look like.
Doctors reportedly made a silicone mask from a cast of the donor's face and put it in place before her burial.
An attorney for the face-transplant recipient, Ahmed Akkal, told People magazine the formerly unemployed mom of two teen daughters stands to get about $900,000 from a book and documentary about the ordeal, as well as a feature film. She's also looking to buy a larger home.
"All I want is that it — and my own life — have a happing ending," the woman was quoted as saying by her lawyer.
Tests last month reportedly showed Dinoire was beginning to gain some sensitivity in her new upper lip; she's also being monitored to see if and when she'll begin to smile, open and close her mouth and make other facial expressions. Dinoire reportedly experienced a mild rejection reaction 22 days after the operation, when her new skin became reddened because of a fungal infection in her mouth.
The doctors increased the amounts of anti-rejection drugs. Though Dinoire was said to have been frightened by the reaction, her anxiety eased after it was explained other transplant patients often experienced a similar reaction that was not serious if caught in time.
The reaction disappeared following a large dose of steroids — and no further reactions have been reported.