Andy Sandness, 31, became a face transplant patient ten years after attempting a failed suicide that left him with a horribly disfigured face. He received an incredible face reconstruction surgery that involved the transplant of a facial structure from a deceased donor. The operation, sponsored by the Mayo Clinic, is hailed a success, with Sandness feeling ecstatic beyond words with his new face.
After trying to shoot himself under the chin a decade ago, reportedly due to deep depression, Sandness had to live with his disfigured face. He had to suffer being tortured by people who call him "Frankenstein". Now, eight months since going under the knife to receive another man's face, Sandness says that he feels normal again to become just another face in the crowd.
Simply stepping into an elevator again and blending in with other people makes him feel awesome. “It sank in that I’m finally normal again," the face transplant patient tells his doctors at the Mayo Clinic. He expresses his gratefulness by saying that he's just plain speechless for the gift that he's been given, the Mirror Online reports.
The face donor was 21-year-old Calen Ross who killed himself last June. Face transplant is one of the rarest transplant, and it took 56 hours, and 60 surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other medical specialists, to give Sandness a second face. The surgery took place on June 16 last year, and was Mayo Clinic’s first ever facial transplant, the New York Post reports.
According to the clinic, the surgical team practiced for three years, spending more than 50 Saturdays in a human anatomy lab refining their surgical techniques and developing their approach. Samir Mardini, the medical director for the Mayo Clinic's Reconstructive Transplant Surgery, praises his team saying that the collaboration was an extraordinary example of teamwork and compassion. In December, Sandness, the face transplant patient is set to undergo a follow-up surgery to tighten skin on his face and neck and build up bone around his eyes.