New face gives man new life

Thursday, 29 March 2012 18:30 administrator
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Richard Lee Norris

A university in US successfully completes a full face transplant, a first of its kind.

Baltimore. The University of Maryland released details today of the most extensive full face transplant completed to date, including both jaws, teeth, and tongue. The 36-hour operation occurred on March 19-20, 2012 at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center and involved a multi-disciplinary team of faculty physicians from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a team of over 150 nurses and professional staff.

The face transplant, formally called a vascularized composite allograft (VCA), was part of a 72-hour marathon of transplant activity. The family of one anonymous donor donated his face.

The transplant teamThe face transplant team 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. Dr. Rodriguez is board-certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery as well as in oral and maxillofacial surgery. This marks the first time in the world that a full face transplant was performed by a team of plastic and reconstructive surgeons with specialized training and expertise in craniofacial surgery and reconstructive microsurgery.
 
The face transplant recipient, 37-year-old Richard Lee Norris of Hillsville, Virginia, was injured in 1997 in a gun accident. Since that time, he has undergone multiple life-saving and reconstructive surgeries. Due to the accident, Richard lost his lips and nose and had limited movement of his mouth.
 
The face transplant team collaborated with the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland, the organ and tissue donation program serving most of Maryland. The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland is a non-profit organization that helps facilitate the donation and recovery of human organs and tissues for transplantation and research, and provides public and professional education on organ donation.