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Historic face transplant for gun injury victim

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - 01:57

March 28 - A man from Virginia who suffered a shooting accident undergoes most extensive face transplant in history. Michaela Cabrera reports.

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A 37-year-old man from Virginia has undergone what surgeons from the University of Maryland calls the world's most extensive face transplant. The surgery will allow Richard Norris to emerge from behind a mask that he's been wearing for 15 years, after he was accidentally shot in the face and he lost his nose, lips, and most of the movement in his mouth. Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez said the historic surgical procedure will change Norris's life. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. EDUARDO RODRIGUEZ, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF SURGERY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, SAYING: "Before people used to stare at Richard because he wore a mask, and they wanted to see the deformity. The hardest thing for him was to eat and, obviously, he understands that children would look at him, and that's fine. But to have adults stare at him---, but now they have another reason to stare at him." The 36-hour operation gave Norris a new face from an anonymous donor. What sets the procedure apart from other face surgeries is that it also transplanted the donor's tongue, teeth, upper and lower jaws and all facial tissue, from the hairline to the collar bone. Dr. Rodriguez said Norris has seen himself on a mirror, and was able to move his tongue six days after the surgery. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. EDUARDO RODRIGUEZ, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF SURGERY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, SAYING: "He put the mirror down, and thanked me and hugged me. It was a wonderful gift to give him and ever since that day you could see that we are going to restore those 15 years that he's lost and make him a functioning member of society again." The surgery involved 10 years of research funded by the Department of Defense, and it will serve as a model for helping war veterans injured by improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan. Michaela Cabrera, Reuters.

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Historic face transplant for gun injury victim

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - 01:57

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