|Isabelle Dinoire was rushed to hospital in 2005 after her pet dog ripped off her face (Getty)|
Isabelle Dinoire, who will live forever in medical history as the first person to undergo a face transplant, has died aged 49. Dinoire received the ground-breaking operation at the Aimens Hospital in France in 2005 by doctors Bernard Devauchelle and Jean-Michel Dubernard after having her nose, mouth and chin ripped off by her pet Labrador.
According to reports in France, Dinoire, from Valenciennes, became seriously ill after years of taking immunosuppressant drugs designed to prevent her body rejecting new tissues following the transplant. Her body rejected a new skin graft, resulting in the partial loss of her lips last November.
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|Isabelle Dinoire, of Valenciennes, northern France, before her accident (Kent News & Pictures Ltd)|
|Isabelle Dinoire was attacked by a dog but had no memory what had happened (Rex)|
She was diagnosed with two different cases of cancer as a result of treatment and died on 22 April. Her death was announced by the hospital she had been treated at.
Speaking to the BBC, she described how she struggled to recognise herself anymore and was desperate to meet the family of the donor. She said: "The most difficult thing is to find myself again, as the person I was, with the face I had before the accident. But I know that's not possible. "When I look in the mirror, I see a mixture of the two [of us]. The donor is always with me."
|Isabelle Dinoire during surgery. The medical procedure took 15 hours to complete (Rex)|
|Miss Dinoire received a new nose, mouth and chin in the ground-breaking operation in 2005 (Getty)|
Dubernard said after carrying out the operation: "Once I had seen Isabelle's disfigured face, no more needed to be said. I was convinced something had to be done for this patient." Dubernard had also performed the world's first hand transplant in 1998, as well as the first double hand and forearm transplant in 2000.
There have been some 30 face transplants since 2005, including a man in Spain who received the world's first 'full' face transplant in 2010 following a shooting accident.
- Story via IBTimes UK, Images via Mirror, UK