The University of Maryland released details today on the recovery of Richard Lee Norris, the 37-year-old man who received the most extensive full face transplant completed to date seven months ago. Norris, of Hillsville, Virginia, was injured in a 1997 gun accident, losing much of his upper and lower jaws as well as his lips and nose. The transplant surgery, completed on March 20, 2012 at the University of Maryland Medical Center, included replacement of both jaws, teeth, tongue, and skin and underlying nerve and muscle tissue from scalp to neck.
"For the past 15 years I lived as a recluse hiding behind a surgical mask and doing most of my shopping at night when less people were around," says Norris. "I can now go out and not get the stares and have to hear comments that people would make. People used to stare at me because of my disfigurement. Now they can stare at me in amazement and in the transformation I have taken. I am now able to walk past people and no one even gives me a second look. My friends have moved on with their lives, starting families and careers. I can now start working on the new life given back to me."