New Full-Face Transplant Photos Revealed
Seven months after receiving a full face transplant, Richard Norris is showing off his new look in photos released by his doctors.
“For the past 15 years I lived as a recluse hiding behind a surgical mask,” Norris said in a press release. “I am now able to walk past people and no one even gives me a second look.”
Norris lost his midface and jaw, and suffered extensive tissue damage, in a 1997 gun accident. The Virginia resident received a face transplant transplant in March, 2012, then spent two months in the hospital and another three months recovering at home under doctor surveillance.
Norris’s operation was performed by a surgical team from the University of Maryland in Baltimore, which claimed it was the most complex and extensive surgery of its kind ever performed.
“The surgical team used their knowledge of vascularized composite allograft techniques with expertise in oral and maxillofacial surgery, dentistry, and plastic surgery to precisely transplant the entire face, including the midface, maxilla, mandible, teeth, tongue, and other facial soft tissue structures from the scalp to neck,” said E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, dean of the university’s school of medicine in the release.
Fundamental to the development of the procedure was a decade’s worth of research into the immunologic response to composite transplants and in how to overcome various technical barriers, said Stephen Bartlett, MD, who chaired the hospital’s department of surgery.
Norris’s surgery was performed on March 19 and 20. It transformed his appearance, and was successful in allowing him to maintain his eyesight — a first for recipients of full face transplants.
“Today, Richard Norris has a face with normal height, width, and projection,” said Eduardo D. Rodriguez, MD, DDS, chief of plastic, reconstructive, and maxillofacial surgery at the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland after the March procedure.
“This is an unprecedented procedure that we believe will change the face of medicine now and in the future,” Reece said.