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So far, only two face transplant-related deaths have been reported, said Dr. John Barker, former director of plastic surgery research at the University of Louisville who is now a reconstructive medicine researcher at the University of Frankfurt in Germany.

One was a Chinese man who reportedly was not given or did not take medicines to prevent his body from rejecting his new face. The other was in Paris, a man who received a face and a double hand transplant. He suffered a heart attack during surgery to address a complication, Barker said.

Overall, “I think it’s gone fabulously,” he said of face transplantation. “It is a clinical alternative now, not experimental,” he said. “It’s been done and it works. For a select group of patients, it is a viable treatment.”

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Online:

Chimp attack woman: http://bit.ly/kcxTfi

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Marilynn Marchione can be followed at http://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP