Less than 11 months after a 25-hour surgical faceplant, a man who attempted to commit suicide in 2016 has revealed his new face to the world.
Cameron Underwood, 26, of Yuba City, California, survived a self-inflicted gunshot to the face two years ago, leaving him with extensive damage to his face. It left him without most of his lower jaw, his nose, and nearly all his teeth, according to an NYU Langone Health press release obtained by Oxygen.com. The suicide attempt also left behind devastating destruction to his upper face and palate. The damage was "severely impacting his ability to lead a normal life,” the New York City-based medical center wrote.
Conventional reconstructive surgery, which Underwood underwent several times, could only do so much, the press release states.
Underwood’s mother Beverly Bailey-Potter read about Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, a professor of reconstructive plastic surgery and the chair of the plastic surgery department at NYU Langone Health, and thought that he could possibly help her son. Rodriguez had completed two previous face transplants. Since the first face transplant in France in 2005, only about 40 have been done across the world.
"We knew he was the only person to whom we would trust Cameron's life," Bailey-Potter said in the press release. "We were willing to travel the long distance."
Now, after the nearly-day long surgery, Underwood is enjoying his new face.
“I am so grateful to have a face transplant because it gives me a second chance at life,” Underwood said at a press conference, the New York Post reports. “Even though I’m still recovering and gaining back sensation and mobility, mostly with my lips, I’m still very happy with the results,” Underwood said. “I have a nose and a mouth so I’m able to smile, to speak and eat solid foods again.”
Rodriguez said that the transplant will enhance Underwood’s life.
"Cameron has not lived with his injury for a decade or longer like most other face transplant recipients have," Rodriguez said in the statement. "As a result, he has not had to deal with many of the long-term psycho-social issues which often lead to issues like severe depression, substance abuse, and other potentially harmful behaviors."
[Photos: Provided by NYU Langone Health]
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