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Siberian surgeon saves boy mauled by dog

KEMEROVO, February 9 (RIA Novosti) - A skilled microsurgeon saved the life of an 11-year-old boy who was attacked by a dog in Siberia last year, the local press service said Thursday.

According to the source, a stray dog mauled the boy's face, severely injuring him and causing him to lose an eye. The boy was transported by helicopter to the city of Leninsk-Kuznetsky in the Kemerovo Region. Dr. Leonid Afanasyev, the director of the microsurgery department of the city's health center, successfully performed the operation, which lasted for 10 hours. The boy was able to leave intensive care, where had been immobilized with a special head fixture, a month later. But he is still to undergo plastic surgery and psychological rehabilitation.

The operation was reminiscent of the world's first face transplant on a 38-year-old French woman savaged by a dog, which became a sensation worldwide. During a five-hour operation, tissues, muscles, arteries and veins were taken from a brain-dead donor and attached to the woman's face.

"We do not want to take away from the merits of foreign experts. Indeed, it [the face transplant] was a unique operation. However, it should be mentioned that there are brilliant surgeons capable of conducting no less unique operations in Russia," the press service said.

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