US: Man injured in gun accident gets new face

March 28, 2012 03:30
US: Man injured in gun accident gets new face

An comprehensive face transplant ever carried out as indicated by University of Maryland physician for 37-year-old man from Virginia who was injured in a gun accident in the year 1997.He is been given a new face, teeth, tongue and jaw.

On Tuesday March 27 University of Maryland Medical Center officials declared that Richard Lee Norris is now recovering well subsequent to the last week's surgery, starting to feel his face and already he started brushing his teeth and started shaving his beard.And more over he also reattained his smell, that he had lost after the accident.

Norris has spent the past 15 years living as a recluse, and the transplant will give him his life back, said Dr Eduardo Rodriguez, the lead surgeon.

"It's a surreal experience to look at him. It's hard not to stare. Before, people used to stare at Richard because he wore a mask and they wanted to see the deformity," Rodriguez said.

"Now, they have another reason to stare at him, and it's really amazing."

It was the 23rd face transplant since doctors began doing the procedure seven years ago.

The 36-hour operation was the most extensive because it included transplantation of the teeth, tongue, upper and lower jaw and all facial tissue from the scalp to the base of the neck, Rodriguez said. Because it included so much facial tissue, the incisions are farther back and less visible, he said.

The first full face transplant was performed in France in 2005 on a woman who was mauled by her dog. The Cleveland Clinic performed the first face transplant in the US in 2008.

The Department of Defense has been funding some face and hand surgeries with the goal of helping wounded soldiers. More than 1,000 troops have lost an arm or leg in Afghanistan or Iraq, and the government estimates that 200 troops might be eligible for face transplants.

The University of Maryland's research on transplants was funded by a grant from the Office of Naval Research, and doctors said they hope to begin operating soon on military patients.

Officials provided little detail on Norris or the circumstances of the accident that took his face. He graduated from high school in his small southwest Virginia hometown in 1993 and was employed at the time of the accident. Since then, he has lived with his parents and has not had a full-time job, Rodriguez said.

Dr Rodriguez told The Associated Press "This accidental hurt ruined almost everything.And whereas Richard's friends and colleagues went on to start getting married,having children and owning homes".Even Richard wants to make up for all of that."

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