Two destinies, one person: the amazing story of a face transplant patient


2017-02-21 13:30:09




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In June last year at the Mayo clinic, one of the largest private medical centers in the world, located in Rochester, Minnesota, USA, was the first in the history of this medical institution operation to transplant the face. This medical procedure is still extremely rare even in modern practice, quite literally joined the fates of two very different, but caught in the same circumstances of people – both tried to commit suicide. Only in one case, it ended almost completely destroyed face, the second death.

In 2006, 21-year-old Andy Sandness tried to take his own life. The guy shot himself in the chin. The gunshot destroyed most of his face, but he survived. Once a person has come to a stable condition, doctors tried to fix his face, but the lack of jaw, nose and teeth are not allowed to conduct a qualitative procedure for restoring. Anyway, the guy somehow recovered and returned to his native Wyoming, where he found work and has even started to get used to this life.

However, in 2012, specialists of the medical center Mayo came up with the idea of transplantation of the face. The procedure is incredibly complex and is accompanied by numerous huge risk. But after some reflection, Sandness agreed to the operation.

"If you looked how I looked and to experience what I experienced, even the tiniest ray of hope will make you agree to such", — shared, Sandness news Agency Associated Press.

"This operation promised to return not only my face but also my life."

Preparation for the transplant procedure faces took a lot of time. Over the next three years the doctors of the Mayo clinic spent a total of about 50 training and preparatory operations. In January 2016 Sandness added to the list of people waiting for donors, particularly not hoping to get the body over the next few years. However, just five months later, he called and reported that they found the right donor.

It was the 21-year-old kalen Ross, committed suicide with a gunshot to the head. Since Ross was an organ donor, doctors were quick to settle all questions and to sign the necessary documents. After some hesitation, his wife Lilly Ross, at that time being pregnant, agreed to donate her husband's face to another person. Her decision she explained that she would like one day to tell my son how his father was able to help another person even after his death.

Face transplant lasted for 56 (!) hours and required more than 60 medical staff, including several surgeons. On the separation of only one donor bones, muscles and skin doctors took the whole day. The rest of the time surgeons spent on the reconstruction of tissues and "fit" of a new entity under the anatomical features Sandness, starting from the area below the eyes.

After 32 hours from the beginning of the procedure, the doctors were able to transplant Sandness nose, cheeks, mouth, teeth, lips, jaw and chin.

After the operation is completed Sandness were not allowed to look at myself in the mirror for three weeks, but when the time came and he first looked at himself in the reflection, he experienced a real shock.

"If you ever lost something that you had always you some idea of my feelings. And when you have a chance to win it back, you are unlikely to refuse", — says, Sandness.

By the time he was able to realize that his face now looks really quite normal, Sandness was three months after the transplant procedure. He was in the Elevator and met the little boy, who to him just looked. Just looked, not shocked by, as it usually happened with children in a similar situation before surgery.

By now people fully regained the ability to breathe freely, the sense of smell is the same manner as he did with his last face. Sandness, enjoying life and now did not hesitate to be in the crowd.


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