News

Doctors Call World's First Full Face Transplant A Resounding Success

Eduardo D. Rodriguez, M.D., Chief of Plastic, Reconstructive and Maxillofacial surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center talks with reporters about the most extensive full face transplant completed to date performed on Richard Lee Norris, pictu
Eduardo D. Rodriguez, M.D., Chief of Plastic, Reconstructive and Maxillofacial surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center talks with reporters about the most extensive full face transplant completed to date performed on Richard Lee Norris, pictu
Carol Pearson

U.S. doctors have performed what they say is the most extensive face transplant ever. In addition to getting an entirely new face, the male patient also received a new jaw, new teeth and a tongue. Our reporter has more on the surgical procedure that has been restoring people's lives.

It's been little more than six years between this news conference in France and this one at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

In 2005, French doctors stunned the world by announcing they had given Isabelle Dinoire a donor's nose, lips, chin and parts of her cheek. Dinoire had been horribly disfigured by a dog attack.

At the University of Maryland on March 27, doctors unveiled a picture of Richard Norris when he was 18, a nice-looking man before a gun accident cost him his nose, lips and most movement of his mouth and jaw. His disfigurement had made him a recluse.

In an operation that lasted 36 hours, Norris received new upper and lower jaws, new teeth and most of the donor's tongue in addition to his face from the scalp to the neck.   

Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez led the surgical team.

"[This is] Mr. Richard Norris only six days after his surgical procedure," he said.

"When we look at the donor and we look at the recipient, obviously it's a blend of two individuals," said Rodriguez. "Clearly there are some specific features, like the nose and maybe chin, but behind that soft tissue draping, behind that skin, it is Richard Norris."

Milestones in face transplant surgery

  • 2012 U.S. - University of Maryland physicians carry out what they call the most extensive face transplant ever performed.
  • 2011 U.S. - Three full face transplants performed at Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • 2008 U.S. - Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic perform the first face transplant to include bone, muscle, skin, blood vessel and nerve transplants
  • 2008 France - Doctors perform what they call the world's first successful full face transplant
  • 2005 France - Isabelle Dinoire becomes the first person to undergo a face transplant after her face was ravaged by her dog

For the past 10 years, the medical center has worked to perfect surgical treatments for injured war veterans.

The medical team says Norris's surgery is the most extensive full-face transplant to date and the first time a face transplant was performed by a surgical team that specializes in facial and reconstructive surgery and dentistry. Dr. Rodriguez recalls Norris's reaction after seeing his new face.

''He put the mirror down and he thanked me and hugged me," he said. "It was a wonderful gift to give him.  And ever since that day, we could see that we were going to restore those 15 years that he lost and make him a functioning member of society once again."

Only six days after surgery, doctors said they are pleased with his progress.

''Richard Norris as we see him today with a skeleton," said Dr. Rodriguez. "Everything has been perfectly aligned, restoring the normal height, width and projection."

The doctors say the experience gained in previous face transplants beginning with that first one in France, helped them perfect the technique they used to give Richard Norris a second chance at a normal life.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs