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World’s Most Extreme Face-Transplant a Success
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In the most extreme face-transplant operation ever performed, Richard Lee Norris has regained his face, and also his life. After 15 years of living as a recluse, in his parents house without a full time job, wearing a mask in public and shopping at night, and watching as one by one his friends married and started families, Norris, a 37-year-old man from Virginia, anticipates living a normal life once again. Aside from puffy eyes and some visible scars, which will heal, Norris is ready to rejoin the world without stares.

“This accidental injury just destroyed everything,” said his lead surgeon, Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez. “His friends and colleagues went on to start getting married, having children, owning homes. He wants to make up for all that.”

The face transplant gave Norris a new jaw and returned his sense of smell. Rodriguez said “It’s a surreal experience to look at him. It’s hard not to stare. Before, people used to stare at Richard because he wore a mask and they wanted to see the deformity. Now, they have another reason to stare at him, and it’s really amazing.”


The new face combines Norris’s underling facial muscles with the donor’s skin. “It’s a combination of two individuals, a true blend,” said Rodriguez.

These types of surgeries, which are still experimental – only seven have been performed – are anticipated to help soldiers serving the country in Afghanistan or Iraq, many who have suffered disfiguration from IEDs and other occupational hazards.

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