UM Face Transplant Update: It’s Pretty Amazing

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This spring, 37-year old Richard Norris received the most extensive face transplant ever performed thanks to a team of 100 doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center. So how’s he doing now? (Warning:  semi-intense photos after the jump.)

Harris pre-surgery, and then 114 days after the operation

Pretty amazing, right? When Norris accidentally shot himself in the face 15 years ago, he lost his nose and lips, as well as much of the muscle tissue in his face. He lived reclusively, wearing a mask whenever he left his home. He didn’t have a sense of smell. He couldn’t brush his teeth.

The UM surgery, the most extensive of its kind, was performed by Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, along with a hundred-strong team of university medical staff. The surgeons realigned Harris’s nerves, aligned his teeth, and gave him a brand new tongue. UM’s face transplant research was funded in part by a grant from the Office of Naval Research, which hopes to use the procedure on wounded veterans.

And as for Harris? Now he can shave, smile, and smell — none of which he could do before. “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 announced in a press release.

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