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Richard Lee Norris receives successful face transplant

37-year-old Richard Lee Norris, a man who suffered the loss of his lips and nose in a gun accident years ago, has received a successful face transplant.

According to BBC News, Norris’ face transplant was one of the most extensive facial surgeries ever carried out. It included a new nose, tongue, jaw, and teeth, and took 36 hours for surgeons to complete.

MSNBC reports that the surgery took place at the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center. It not only involved a team of physicians from the University of Maryland School of Medicine but also support from a team of more than 150 nurses and staff.

“Our goal [was] to restore function as well as have aesthetically pleasing results,” said lead surgeon Eduardo Rodriguez.

It sounds like that goal has been a success. Since the surgery, Norris has regained his sense of smell, is able to brush his teeth, and can shave.

For 15 years, he had lived as a recluse, wearing a mask whenever he went outside. But now, he is happy and confident in his appearance.

The surgery was funded by the U.S. Navy. This comes as good news to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who were wounded in action. The U.S. government says that nearly 200 wounded troops may also be eligible for face transplants.