She said she had forgiven her husband. “I still love my husband,” she told “Good Morning America” In 2009. “I forgave him the day he did it. I have to.”
Around 40 such surgeries have been done worldwide since Ms. Culp’s, said Dr. Thomas Romo III, director of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital.
Her procedure was immediately successful and Ms. Culp’s body did not reject the transplant, though she needed to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of her life because her body could have rejected the transplant at any time. The drugs suppress a patient’s immune system to prevent it from rejecting the transplant but also make the person more susceptible to infections.
Most face transplant procedures are related to gunshot wounds or accidents involving animals, Dr. Romo said.
Charla Nash, who received a full face transplant In 2011 after being mauled by her friend’s pet chimpanzee In Stamford, Conn., was hospitalized In 2016 after she participated In a trial to determine if transplant patients could be weaned off the drugs.
Face transplants are more than just cosmetic improvements for patients, Dr. Romo said. After successful transplants, most patients are able to speak, eat and otherwise live a more normal life.
If not for the surgery, Ms. Culp would not have been able to smile or talk, Dr. Romo said, adding that face transplants can have positive psychological effects for patients.