Richard Lee under went a full face transplant recently to reconstruct facial injures done by a gun accident. Lee’s face transplant was the most extensive ever performed, giving a nose, tongue, new teeth and jaw, reports the University of Maryland.
Previous to the face transplant, the 37-year-old lived as a recluse for 15 years. Though, after the incredible 36-hour surgery lead by Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez at the University of Maryland Lee has little to hide from. The surgery was described as "the most extensive full face transplant completed to date."
"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. 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," explains Dr. Rodriquez. "Our goal is to restore function as well as have aesthetically pleasing results."
The medical term for Lee’s face transplant is vascularized composite allograft or VCA. The surgery was completed March 19-20 and utilized over 150 nurses and other medical staff
"The resources and talent that made this complex organizational effort a reality was months in the making and touched all areas of the hospital," says Jeffrey A. Rivest, president and chief executive officer of the University of Maryland Medical Center. "The Medical Center staff is honored to care for patients and families facing such tremendously complex medical challenges."
Upon seeing his face for the first time, Lee immediately hugged his doctors.