The surgery was conducted on March 19-20, 2012 and
lasted for 36 hours. It involved
transplantation of jaws, teeth and tongue, besides all the soft tissues from
the scalp to the neck including muscles and nerves.
The team that conducted the transplant included
faculty physicians from the University, and more than 150 nurses and
professional staff. It was led by
Eduardo D. Rodriguez, M.D., D.D.S., associate professor of surgery at the
University of Maryland School of Medicine and chief of plastic, reconstructive
and maxillofacial surgery at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the
University of Maryland Medical Center.
The team not only included surgeons well experienced in treating
high-velocity ballistic facial injuries, it also included researchers and
scientists who had been studying on ways to reduce rejection of organs and
minimize side effects of drugs used to suppress immunity following
The team used the latest in surgical and
computerized techniques to transplant the face. The aim of the surgery was
not only to have a normal-looking face, but also to restore the functions and
feelings of the face, including facial expression.
The grafts for
the face transplant were obtained from an anonymous donor, whose family donated
not only the face, but also other organs which saved the lives of five other people.
was 37-year old Richard Lee Norris of Hillsville, Virginia who had injured his
face in a gun accident in 1997
. Due to
this accident, he had lost his lips, nose and had limited movement of the
mouth. Following the surgery, Richard
is said to be recovering well and is already brushing his teeth and
shaving. He is also said to have
regained his sense of smell.
The surgery provides good news for people with
severe face injuries waiting for a face transplant.