Univ. of Maryland performs extensive full-face transplant

2012 03 28 10 14 48 584 Face Transplant 350

The University of Maryland has released details of the most extensive full face transplant completed to date, including mandibles, teeth, and tongue.

The face transplant recipient, 37-year-old Richard Lee Norris of Hillsville, VA, was injured in 1997 in a gun accident. Since that time, he has undergone multiple life-saving and reconstructive surgeries. Due to the accident, Norris lost his lips and nose and had limited movement of his mouth.

The 36-hour operation, which took place March 19-20 at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), involved a multi-disciplinary team of faculty physicians from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a team of more than 150 nurses and professional staff.

The face transplant team was led by Eduardo Rodriguez, MD, DDS, associate professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and chief of plastic, reconstructive, and maxillofacial surgery at UMMC.

"We utilized innovative surgical practices and computerized techniques to precisely transplant the mid-face, maxilla, and mandible (including teeth), and a portion of the tongue," Dr. Rodriguez said in a press release. "In addition, the transplant included all facial soft tissue from the scalp to the neck, including the underlying muscles to enable facial expression, and sensory and motor nerves to restore feeling and function. Our goal is to restore function as well as have aesthetically pleasing results."

This marks the first timed 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, according to the university.

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