Face transplant recipient Isabelle Dinoire dies

The world’s first face transplant recipient, Frenchwoman Isabelle Dinoire, died in April “after a long illness”, a French hospital said yesterday.

In 2005, at the age of 38, Dinoire received a graft comprising the nose, lips and chin of a brain-dead donor to replace parts of her face that had been mauled by her dog.

The hospital in Amiens, northern France, confirmed the death of “Mrs D, the first patient in the world to receive a face transplant in an operation carried out by Professor [Bernard] Devauchelle and his teams on November 27 2005.” The hospital said her death had been kept quiet to protect her family’s privacy.

Le Figaro newspaper reported that Dinoire’s body had rejected the transplant last year and she had lost part of the use of her lips.

The drugs that she had to take to prevent her body from rejecting the transplant had left her susceptible to cancer, the report said.

In a remarkable news conference in February 2006, just three months after the operation, the mother of two appeared before TV cameras, wearing thick makeup to disguise the scars of the procedure.