Xu Jianmei underwent the pioneering surgery in Fuzhou, in Fujian province. Xu revealed that her parents were unable to afford the expense of a surgery but received hope after doctors offered to perform it for free.
The doctors implanted a blood vessel taken from her leg into her left breast and stretched the skin using a water filled balloon so that enough skin could be produced for the surgery. Xu said that the best thing about her surgery was that she was able to smile properly for the first time in 12 years.
"With her new face she will be able to express herself in a more precise way. She will even be able to blush when her emotions change, but it will take a long time. First, we took a piece of blood vessel fascia from her thigh and implanted it in her chest. Then we inserted a skin expander beneath the part of skin where the blood vessel fascia was planted, so that the part could expand and produce enough skin for her new face", lead surgeon Dr Jiang Chenhong said, adding that similar surgeries have been carried out in the country over the last few years.