Wow: Recipient of world's first total face transplant speaks

Not a perfect success, but miraculously close. The goal here wasn’t to make her look fully normal, which would be almost impossible, but to get close enough so that she could go out in public again. Have a look at what she looked like before the operation.

She endured 30 operations to try to fix her face. Doctors took parts of her ribs to make cheekbones and fashioned an upper jaw from one of her leg bones. She had countless skin grafts from her thighs. Still, she was left unable to eat solid food, breathe on her own, or smell.

Then, on Dec. 10, in a 22-hour operation, Dr. Maria Siemionow led a team of doctors who replaced 80 percent of Culp’s face with bone, muscles, nerves, skin and blood vessels from another woman who had just died. It was the fourth face transplant in the world, though the others were not as extensive.

“Here I am, five years later. He did what he said — I got me my nose,” Culp said of Djohan, laughing.

They’ll trim some of the jowls you see as her facial nerves regenerate to control the new muscles — which, incidentally, will also make her new face look more like her old one. Mind-boggling.