Connie Culp Face Transplant First in the U.S. (PICS & VIDEO)

Connie Culp, the first Face Transplant recipient in the U.S. has come forward 5 months after her remarkable surgery to talk about her experience.

Connie Culp’s Face Transplant Story

5 years ago, Connie Culp was the victim of one of the most brutal domestic violence attacks imaginable. She was shot in the face with a shotgun by her husband. It’s a miracle she even survived but about 80% of her face was missing, leaving her horribly disfigured.

In December 2008, Connie Culp had a face transplant where doctors removed a dead woman’s face and attached it to Connie. Until Tuesday, Culp’s identity and how she became disfigured were kept a secret.

In a press conference at the Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday, Connie Culp appeared before the cameras. her new face is still somewhat disfigured and the facial muscles have yet to heal enough for to be visually expressive, but she can talk, smile, taste and doctors say she’ll need more minor surgeries before it’s over, but they’re calling it a success.

At the press conference, Connie Culp says:

“I guess I’m the one you came to see today, I think it’s more important that you focus on the donor family that made it so I could have this person’s face. When somebody has a disfigurement and don’t look as pretty as you do, don’t judge them, because you never know what happened to them, Don’t judge people who don’t look the same as you do. Because you never know. One day it might be all taken away.”

Connie Culp Face Transplant Photos, Before and After

Connie Culp was released from the hospital on February 5th and has had to return for periodic follow up care. Incredibly, she has only had one mild rejection episode that was easily controlled with one treatment of steroid medicines, her doctors said. Connie will have to take immune-suppressing drugs for the rest of her life, but her dosage has been cut down to the point where she only needs a few pills a day.

The clinic expects to absorb the cost of the transplant because it was experimental, doctors said. Siemionow estimated it at $250,000 to $300,000. That is less than the $1 million that other surgeons estimate it costs them to treat other severely disfigured people through dozens of separate operations, she said.

Connie Culp Face Transplant Recipient Video

[Thanks Huffington Post for source and photos]

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