She Was Shot by Her Husband. Now, She's the First-Ever Face Transplant in US

She Was Shot by Her Husband. Now, She's the First-Ever Face Transplant in US

In 2004, Connie Culp was shot in the face by her husband, Thomas. She was at the end of her life as the shotgun’s bullet left her with only her upper eyelids, lower lip, and chin. She had parts of the shotgun pellet and bones in her face and her nose, cheeks, the roof of her mouth and an eye were no longer there.

Culp had 30 surgeries, and doctors used skin grafts from thighs. However, she still couldn’t eat solid foods, breathe without aid, or smell at all. But, a medical team led by Dr. Maria Siemionow managed to replace approximately 80 percent of her face with bone, muscles, nerves, skin, and blood vessels from an anonymous donor. She was the world’s fourth face transplant, and the first in the United States.

Though her expressions aren’t the same, she is able to talk, smile, smell, and eat solid foods.