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News in brief: May 2012

  • Published: 27 April 2012
  • DOI: 10.1136/sbmj.e2863
  • Cite this as: Student BMJ 2012;20:e2863

Surgeons from the University of Maryland Medical Centre have completed “the world’s most comprehensive face transplant” lasting 36 hours. The patient, Richard Norris, a 37 year old man from Virginia, has emerged from behind a mask 15 years after a gun incident almost killed him.

Norris was shot in the face in 1997, losing his nose, lips, and most of the movement in his mouth. He has had many reconstructive operations since, but continued to wear a prosthetic nose and mask to hide his deformities.

Doctors at University of Maryland gave him a new face from an anonymous donor. Only six days after the surgery Norris was able to move his tongue, smell for the first time in 15 years, and open and close his eyes.

Funded by the US Navy, the operation team consisted of around 100 doctors, scientists, and university medical staff. The university have said it will

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