After hiding his disfigured face behind a mask for 15 years, Richard Lee Norris finally has a fresh start with a fresh face.
The Virginia man lost his nose, lips, and most movement in his mouth when he accidentally shot himself in the face in 1997, but a team of over 100 medical experts at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center gave him the most extensive face transplant in history on March 19th.
Plastic surgeons miraculously used facial tissue from his hairline to his neck, a new upper and lower jaw, teeth, and a portion of a tongue to give Richard a new look. Just 3 days after the 36-hour surgery, he's already moving his jaw, brushing his teeth, and shaving!
Chief surgeon Dr. Edwardo D. Rodriguez told sources:
“This accidental injury just destroyed everything. The rest of his friends and colleagues went on to start getting married, having children, owning homes. He wants to make up for all of that. He’s been living behind a mask. This is clearly a transforming event.”
It's pretty much a modern miracle and we couldn't be happier that this guy can finally try to live a normal life. Congratulations on the groundbreaking procedure and we wish Richard the best of luck as he continues his recovery!
[Image via AP Images.]