Most Extensive Face Transplant Ever Performed Gives Gunshot Victim New Lease On Life

Face transplant patient, Richard Lee Norris, 37, was severely injured during a gun accident in 1997. A team of 100 doctors at the University of Maryland helped the man restore not just his face, but his dignity as well. Norris has sent the past 15 years living the life of a recluse in Hillsville, Virginia. He came out only under the cover of night, and wore a mask to obscure his drastically disfigured appearance.

A 36-hour surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center gave the gun accident victim a new tongue, teeth, and jaw, according to the Daily Mail. When Richard unintentionally shot himself in the face, he suffered the loss of his lips, nose, and most of his mouth movement. He endured numerous life-saving and reconstructive surgeries over the past 15 years.

Reconstructive procedures included replacing underlying muscle and never tissue from his scalp to his neck. As a result of the intricate operations, the Virginia man how has approximately 40 percent movement on the left side of his face and 80 percent on the right side.

Richard Norris had this to say about his face transplant surgeries in a statement released by NBC News:

“I am now able to walk past people and no one even gives me a second look. My friends have moved on with their lives, starting families, and careers. I can now start working on the new life given back to me.”

An anonymous organ donor provided Richard Norris’ new face, and saved the lives of five other patient’s as well. The accidental shooting victim is the first patient to retain his sight after a full face transplant in the United States. The surgery procedure which offered Norris a new lease on life, will serve as a model to help soldiers injured by explosive devises.

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