A 37-year-old man injured in a 1997 gun accident has been given a new face, teeth, tongue and jaw in what doctors say is the most extensive face transplant ever performed.
He is beginning to feel his face and already brushing his teeth and shaving. He's also regained his sense of smell, which he had lost after the accident.
For 15 years, Mr Norris lived as a recluse, hiding behind a mask and only coming out at night time.
The transplant will give him his life back, said Dr Eduardo Rodriguez, the lead surgeon.
'It's a surreal experience to look at him. It's hard not to stare.
'Before, people used to stare at Richard because he wore a mask and they wanted to see the deformity,' Rodriguez said.
Now, they have another reason to stare at him, and it's really amazing.'
The surgeons are calling it the world's most comprehensive face transplant which allowed the Virginia man to emerge from behind his mask after 15 years.
To ensure Mr Norris would retain maximum function of his facial expressions and movements, doctors gave him a new tongue for proper speech, eating, and chewing, normally aligned teeth, and connected his nerves to allow for smiling.
The transplant was 'an amazing feat', said the dean of the School of Medicine, Dr E. Albert Reece at the press conference.
'It's also an unprecedented and historic procedure that we believe will change, if you will, the face ofmedicine now and in the future,' Reece said.
Norris's transplant comes on the heels of successful face transplants in Forth Worth, Texas, and Boston, Massachusetts, last year. He is the first full face transplant recipientin the United States to retain his eyesight.
The surgery involved ten years of research funded by the Department of Defense's Office of Naval Research,and will serve as a model for helping war veterans injured by improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan, the university said.
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Hopes for a swift global recovery suffered a jolt yesterday as freezing winter weather contributed to a sudden drop in spending and confidence across several advanced economies.对全