Woman who received world's first face transplant dies at 49

Isabelle Dinoire received a partial face transplant in 2005 that allowed her to eat, speak and smile once again.

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Isabelle Dinoire, the first person in the world to undergo a face transplant, died at the age of 49 in Amiens, France, of complications following her groundbreaking surgery. In May 2005, Dinoire was mauled by her labrador while she was sleeping and in December of that same year, she received a partial face transplant of the chin, mouth and nose. The procedure left her with the ability to eat, speak and smile normally, and surgeons labeled it a success, though her body never fully accepted the new tissue.

Dinoire fell ill last winter after her body rejected a new skin graft, leaving her with limited function in her lips. The immunosuppressants and other treatments that Dinoire routinely received took their toll over the years, and she recently developed two different cancers.

Dinoire died on April 22, 2016, though the hospital in Amiens only announced her passing today. Officials have not offered a reason for the delayed announcement.

Dinoire's surgery opened the doors for subsequent face transplants around the world, including two full-face procedures in the United States. Surgeons at Cleveland Clinic recently attempted the nation's first uterus transplant, though that failed after two weeks. In May, surgeons at Massachusetts General Hospital successfully completed the first penis transplant in the US.

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