Doctors in north-western China have performed the world's second face transplant, claiming the procedure was "more complex" than the first such operation in France last year, state media said on Saturday.
A surgical team at the Xijing hospital in Xi'an replaced two- thirds of the face of 30-year-old Li Guoxing, who was disfigured after a bear mauled him two years ago, the official Xinhua news agency quoted hospital president Zhang Yingzhi as saying.
"The surgery is even more complex than the first face transplant in France in November last year," plastic surgeon Han Yan was quoted as saying. The team gave Li a new cheek, upper lip, nose and eyebrow from a single male donor, in an operation that lasted 14 hours and was completed early Friday.
Li was "recovering satisfactorily" but would need six months to recover fully, Guo Shuzhong, the head of the transplant team, was quoted as saying. Li and his wife would also need time to overcome the psychological problems of adjusting to his new face, Guo said.
Surgeons in France carried out the world's first such operation on 38-year-old Isabelle Dinoire whose lips and nose were ripped off by a dog.
Li had lived as a recluse since his "horrific disfigurement" by the bear in 2004. The hospital performed the surgery free of charge.
It had successfully performed a facial skin transplant on a rabbit in December, the agency said. At least 200,000 people in China have severe facial disfigurements that could only be helped by a face transplant, it said.
Dinoire, whose face was mauled by her pet dog, told journalists in February that she saw her operation giving other disfigured people the hope for a normal life.