After 15 years, Richard Lee Norris received facial reconstruction surgery after a gun accident, making his surgery the most extensive face transplant to date!
The reasons are still unclear as to why Norris shot himself in the face, but he lost his nose, lips, and most of his jaw movement due to the accident. Norris has been too ashamed to be seen in public, leaving either at night or while wearing a mask to hide his disfigured face.
‘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,’ he said in a release to NBC.
The new face came from an anonymous donor whose organs saved 5 other patients. The doctors moved nerve tissue from his scalp and neck to his face, currently giving him motor control to 80% of the right side of his face and 40% of the left side of the face. The doctors wanted to give Norris the maximum amount of facial control and movement by connecting nerves that allow for smiling, aligned his teeth and attached a new tongue for speech, eating and chewing.
The lead doctor for Mr. Norris’ face transplant, Dr.Eduardo D. Rodriguez, described Norris’ reaction to seeing his new face:
‘He put the mirror down and thanked me and hugged me,’ said Dr Rodriguez. ‘We concealed all the lines so it would give him the most immediate best appearance with minimal touch-ups down the road.’
Norris’ transplant will be used as a model for future reconstructions and transplants for veterans in the future. The University of Maryland received a grant from the Office of Naval Research in order to start helping military veterans in need of transplants.
What is one of the craziest ways you guys have been injured?