- Associated Press - Thursday, August 11, 2011

More face transplant recipients and donor families are going public. They are boosting acceptance of an operation that six years ago was just daredevil theory.

On Thursday, a Boston hospital released a photo of Charla Nash, the Connecticut woman mauled by a chimpanzee. She had a face transplant in May. Other people who have had face transplants are now able to walk the streets without people knowing they have someone else’s face.

Eighteen such transplants have been done worldwide. The first was in November 2005 on a French woman mauled by her dog. The first in the U.S. was in December 2008 in Cleveland. A Pittsburgh hospital hopes to offer them soon. The U.S. Department of Defense is funding more in hopes of helping disfigured soldiers.