This morning, surgeons at the University of Maryland, United States, made public the details of which appears as the “complete” face transplant in history.
Surgeons of the Medical Center University reported that the operation, performed on a man who lived for 15 years with a mask after suffering an accident with a firearm that disfigured his face on 19 and 20 March and which had last 36 hours, included the transplantation of teeth, jaw, tongue and part of the whole facial tissue from the scalp to the base of the neck.
The patient is Richard Norris, a man of 37 years of Virginia, who at 22 was accidentally shot in the face with a gun that left him with his face buried without lips, nose and the front of the tongue. Norris used for three decades a surgical mask to hide his disfigured face, avoiding eating in public and lived “like a hermit,” according to doctors who operated him.
According to surgeons, Norris has already begun to feel the face, brushing teeth and shaving, and has also recovered the sense of smell, which was lost after the accident.
The operation was the culmination of work undertaken for a decade in a project funded by the Office of Naval Research, Department of Defense, as part of an effort to expand the possibilities for facial reconstruction for wounded soldiers.