"TUCSON, Ariz. - The world's first face transplant recipient is using her new lips to take up smoking again, which doctors fear could interfere with her healing and raise the risk of tissue rejection.
"It is a problem," Dr. Jean-Michel Dubernard, who led the team that performed the pioneering transplant in France on Nov. 27, acknowledged on Wednesday.
The woman's French surgeons made their first scientific presentation on the partial face transplant at a medical conference here this week.
The news about her smoking came even as American surgeons said that they were growing more comfortable with the French doctors' decision to try the operation and that they hoped to offer such transplants to more patients.
The 38-year-old Frenchwoman received a new nose, chin and lips from a brain-dead donor after being mauled by her dog last spring. The woman has been identified only as Isabelle because of French privacy laws.
The woman suffered a tissue-rejection episode last month but is now doing well, her doctors said. However, they said she has resumed smoking, which besides being bad in general for health is especially a problem after surgery because it impairs circulation to tissues and could raise the risk of rejection.
Some doctors have questioned the woman's psychological fitness for the operation because of reports that she had taken sleeping pills in a possible suicide attempt when the dog attack occurred — an allegation Dubernard repeatedly has denied.
He said she received extensive psychiatric evaluation and counseling before the operation."
A 'Smoking' Face Transplant.
After my Face Transplant The First Thing I Want to Dois take up smoking. Is it just me or is there something very very wrong here.
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