37-year-old Richard Norris of Virginia has just received the most extensive full face transplant yet completed.
Norris was injured 15 years ago when he was unintentionally shot in the face. Few details of the shooting incident have been released but since the accident Norris has lived with his parents in a small southwest Virginia town. He has not had a full-time job and has lived like a recluse, covering his face with a mask and shopping at night to avoid stares from children and adults.
The operation, performed by surgeons from the University of Maryland, took 36 hours and included transplantation of the teeth, tongue, upper and lower jaw and all facial tissue from the scalp to the base of the neck. Doctors report he is recovering well, has begun to feel his face and is already brushing his teeth and shaving. He also regained his sense of smell, which he had lost in the shooting.
Norris is eager to start living a normal life again.