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Face Transplant Patient Can Taste, Smell 7 Months After Surgery

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:18am
Associated Press

In photos, provided by the Univ. of Maryland Medical Center, face transplant recipient Richard Lee Norris, the recipient of the most extensive face transplant performed to date, is seen before the face transplant, and 114 days after the transplant was performed.  Image: AP Photo, Univ. of Maryland Medical CenterThe Univ. of Maryland Medical Center says a Virginia man who received a full-face transplant seven months ago eats primarily by mouth and can taste and smell.

Thirty-seven-year-old Richard Lee Norris of Hillsville, Va. received the transplant in a 36-hour surgery in March. It included the replacement of both jaws, teeth, tongue, skin and underlying nerve and muscle tissue from scalp to neck.

The university says Norris, who was injured in a gun accident in 1997, spends his time fishing and golfing. He was quoted as saying he is regaining his speech and can smile and show expression.

The transplant was led by Eduardo Rodriguez, professor of surgery at the Univ. of Maryland School of Medicine and chief of plastic, reconstructive and maxillofacial surgery at Shock Trauma.

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