A Connecticut woman who was mauled two years ago by a friend's pet chimpanzee has received a full face transplant, doctors in Boston say.

More than 30 doctors and nurses gave Charla Nash the transplant late last month, Brigham and Women's Hospital said Friday.

Nash's brother, Steve Nash, told a news conference that his sister wants to enjoy a slice of pizza from a favoured restaurant in their hometown of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

It was the third such surgery to be performed in the U.S.

The medical team also tried a double hand transplant for Nash, but the hands did not thrive and were removed.

John Orr, a spokesman for the Nash family, said there were many complications with the 20-hour surgery, and Nash only recently regained consciousness.

"She developed pneumonia, she had kidney failure, she had the circulation issue with the hands," Orr said.

"She's been under, so to speak, since this whole thing began, and now she's just starting to wake up."

Nash lost her face when a 200-pound pet chimpanzee, named Travis, went on a rampage in 2009. The animal ripped off Nash's hands, nose, lips and eyelids before police killed it.

During the surgery, Nash's nose, lips, facial skin, muscles and nerves were transplanted.

Nash's family is suing the estate of the chimp's owner, Sandra Herold, for $50 million US and wants to sue the state for $150 million, saying state officials failed to prevent the attack.

Herold, who had a tow-truck business, died last year of an aneurysm.

With files from The Associated Press