May 12th, 2010
10:35 AM ET

Survivor of chimp attack is a candidate for face transplant

By Madison Park
CNNhealth.com writer/producer

A woman whose  face was mangled in a  chimpanzee attack checked into a Boston, Massachusetts,  hospital this week.

Charla Nash is a possible candidate for a face and double hand transplant, said Dr. Bohdan Pomahac from the Division of Plastic Surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital  at a news conference Tuesday. CNN affiliate WHDH covered the story.

Nash will have to undergo mental and physical evaluations to assess whether she is a suitable candidate for the procedure, Pomahac said.

In February 2009, Nash was attacked by a pet chimpanzee, Travis, who had been featured in television commercials for Coca-Cola and Old Navy.  Nash was a friend of Travis’ owner and was visiting at their house in Stamford, Connecticut.

CNN.com: Police shoot, kill chimp that attacked woman

The nearly life-threatening attack blinded Nash and left her without hands, nose, upper and lower lips, eyelids and bone structure in her mid-face.  More than a year after the attack, numerous surgeries and therapy sessions helped her regain some of mobility.

She appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show in November.

Oprah.com: Nash talks to Oprah

Surgeons at Brigham and Women's Hospital performed a partial face transplant in 2009.  Nash was discharged from the Cleveland Clinic earlier this week; a team at that hospital performed the first  partial face transplant in the U.S in 2008.

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