Yik Siu-ling, who was shot in the face during the Manila bus hostage siege in 2010, will return to the city on January 10 after a successful operation in Taiwan to rebuild her shattered lower jaw.
"Thanks to the successful operation by Dr Wei Fu-chan, I have great confidence that I'll be able to lead a normal life again," Yik said by telephone yesterday.
The 37-year-old went to Taiwan on December 11 and had surgery a week later at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital after 33 unsuccessful attempts in Hong Kong.
Wei, who led a team that performed the 11-hour microsurgery, said Yik could be discharged in about a week, and would then spend another week in Taiwan.
"The most difficult part of her case was to find usable blood vessels that can provide adequate blood supply around her neck area in order to facilitate reconstruction and normal functioning of her lower jaw," said Wei, an expert in reconstructive surgery.
Wei said the difficulty in locating usable blood vessels was due to severe damage and deformity caused by the gunshot wound and the previous operations.
Yik was one of the 14 Hongkongers who survived the kidnapping and botched rescue attempt on a bus in Manila three years ago. Eight Hongkongers were killed in the incident.
Yik has had 33 operations in Hong Kong, including bone being grafted from one of her calves. But complications meant the implants had to be removed in August, putting her back to square one. Wei and his team were also hindered by a bone defect and the complete lack of teeth on Yik's right side.
Asked how he would rate the level of difficulty of the operation, with 10 the most difficult, Wei said: "I would give it a 10."
Wei declined to comment on Yik's previous operations.
He said she had recovered well and was able to take liquid food two days after the operation. But she still needs surgery and teeth implants in four to six months, Wei said.
He expects her to make a full recovery in about a year.
Yik was pleased she would be able to eat normally again.
"I haven't chewed anything for a long time. I've tried to have a taste of apple and chicken," she said. "I want to thank Dr Wei, and tell my son I'll see him soon."
With part of her calves removed for the surgery, Yik will be in a wheelchair for two months.
Video: Philippine bus hostage-taking incident