Women who underwent the first facial transplant in the US in 2008 after her husband shot her with a shotgun in a failed murder suicide died at the age of 57
- 57-year-old Connie Culp made international headlines in 2008 as the first recipient of a partial facial transplant in the United States
- Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic, where she underwent the procedure, confirmed her death on Friday
- Culp was severely deformed after being shot in the face by her husband in their Ohio home in September 2004
- Surgeons performed the 22-hour procedure in two days with 77 square inches of transplanted tissue
Ohio-born Connie Culp, who became the first person in the U.S. to receive a partial facial transplant after surviving a gunshot wound to her face, passed away at the age of 57.
The Cleveland Clinic, where Culp underwent the historic surgery in 2008, confirmed her death in a statement on Friday.
Connie was an incredibly brave, vibrant woman and an inspiration to many. Her strength was evident in the fact that she had been the longest living face transplant patient to date, “said Dr. Frank Papay, president of the Dermatology and Plastic Surgery Institute.
“She was a great pioneer, and her decision to go through a sometimes daunting procedure is a lasting gift to all mankind.”
Connie Culp, Ohio woman (photo before and after surgery) died on Thursday, 12 years after she was the first person in the U.S. to receive a partial facial transplant. She was 57
Culp was severely deformed after being shot in the face in a failed suicide attempt in 2004
Her cause of death was not released.
Dr. Papay, who was part of the team of surgeons who performed the grueling surgery on Culp 12 years ago, had been in charge of her care since, WKYC reports.
Culp was left seriously deformed in September 2004 after being shot in the face by her husband, Tom Culp, during a failed suicide attempt.
He shot her from two meters away and shot her nose, cheeks, the roof of her mouth and one eye.
Only her forehead, chin, parts of her eyelids and her lower lip remained intact.
Tom Culp was convicted of an attempted serious murder and was sentenced to only seven years in prison for the shooting.
Her husband Tom Culp (pictured with Connie) shot her from five feet away, shot most of her face, leaving only her forehead, chin, parts of her eyelids, and her lower lip
Doctors performed a grueling 22-hour operation over two days, with 77 square inches of transplanted tissue
Meanwhile, Connie received nearly 30 corrective surgeries before finally undergoing the transplant in December 2008.
The Cleveland Clinic surgical team integrated functional facial components and different tissue types to create 77 square inches of transplanted tissue.
The tissue types include skin, muscles, bony structures, arteries, veins and nerves.