Gun Victim Gets Full Face Transplant

Surgery called most complex yet
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2012 5:17 PM CDT
Gun Victim Gets Full Face Transplant
Eduardo D. Rodriguez of the University of Maryland Medical Center explains the most extensive face transplant completed to date.   (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

(Newser) – A Virginia man who suffered a gun accident has undergone a face transplant at the University of Maryland, and doctors say it's the most extensive such operation yet. The surgery required input from 300 health workers and took more than a day to complete, the Baltimore Sun reports. Doctors used donor skin, teeth, jaw, tongue, and other tissue to reconstruct Richard Lee Norris's face after the patient lost his nose, chin, lips, and teeth in 1997.

"Our goal is to restore function as well as have aesthetically pleasing results," said Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, who headed the surgery that took place a week ago. Though a few more weeks are needed for recovery, Norris can already speak, brush his teeth, and shave. A Defense Department grant paid for the surgery; the military wants to improve the procedure to use on wounded troops. It's the 23nd face transplant performed in the world so far, and the first in Maryland. Full story here. (Read more face transplant stories.)

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