Face Transplant Recipient: 'I Can Feel Everything'

Mitchell Hunter speaks out for the first time
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2016 12:02 PM CDT

(Newser) – Mitchell Hunter was the second recipient of a full face transplant in the US, and five years after the procedure, he's talking publicly about his success story. "I feel just as healthy as I did when I was 21, and I feel great," the Indiana 35-year-old tells WISH-TV. Hunter lost his face and leg when he was hit with 10,000 volts of electricity for almost five minutes after a car he was in hit an electrical pole in 2001. Though he had work done on his face, life was difficult: "Imagine walking into a room and like falling, and everybody noticing. That's how it was every time I walked in a room because of the way my face looked," he says. But in 2011, he got the transplant.

Now, "it's a lot easier to go out in public, I will tell you that," Hunter says. "I don't get the stares. I'm just another face in the crowd, and that's all I ever wanted." He says he appreciates being able to have a full-time job and be "a regular human being": "It feels normal." The procedure gave him a new nose, eyelids, and facial animation muscles and nerves, CNN reports. "Hot, cold, pain, tickle, rubbing my beard, someone kissing my face—I can feel everything," Hunter says. "When I touch the beard I can also feel the sensation under the skin." He still has to travel to Massachusetts twice annually to get medical treatments. (Read more face transplant stories.)

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