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First Face Transplant Gives an Amazing Transformation | Photos

Here are some photos from TIME Photos which show the transformation of Richard Lee Norris’s faces before and after the first-ever facial transplant.

According to TIME, the Office of Naval Research has funded work into vascularized composite transplantation that led to a vascularized composite allograft – a face transplant – for a 37-year old Virginia man at the University of Maryland a week ago. There are some 200 U.S. veterans who might benefit from such an operation.

Richard Lee Norris of Hillsville, Va., in a 1993 prom photo.

Photo of Richard Lee Norris after the gun accident

Norris, a victim of a 1997 gun accident, has lived as a recluse with his parents in southwest Virginia, since the accident, generally going out only at night.

A CT scan of Norris’ shattered face.

Photo of CT Scan after surgery

A CT scan of Norris’s face after surgery, which included replacing both jaws, teeth and tongue, at the University of Maryland. A 150-strong medical team performed the 36-hour operation.

Richard Lee Norris photo after the face transplant

Norris after the March 19-20 surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Doctors say his new face doesn’t resemble the anonymous donor. “It’s a combination of two individuals, a true blend,” Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, the lead surgeon, said, according to the Associated Press.

Absolutely amazing. Major kudos to the research scientists, doctors and surgeons who worked hard at making this a success. Hopefully many more will come.


  1. I remember seeing this guy on some news program. He had, I believed, tried to kill himself but instead of blowing his brains out managed only to blow his face off.
    I’m very glad that he’s gotten this second chance – as it were – after the horrors he’s lived through!
    Good for him!

    • I was curious after you mentioned how it happened so I tried to find out. The only thing the sites say is a “gun accident in 1997.” Nothing else. I did see some pix of other facial transplants prior to this man’s and they are not near as good as this guy. The doc’s did a phenomenal job.

      • They certainly did! It’s truly awesome what technology in the hands of a gifted surgeon can accomplish these days!
        I’m pretty sure the news story on this guy was a Loooong time ago – during the time running up to the vote on the Brady Bill.

  2. Not only amazing but frightening in a way as well. Not frightening in a negative way. In the sense that physicians and science have come so far in the past ten years and the general public pays no attention nor keeps abreast, other than phenomenal stories such as this being published… in a nationally read magazine.
    Great find and story Michelle.

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