Surgical Team from NYU Langone Medical Center, led by Cuban American specialist Eduardo Rodríguez, has successfully reconstructed the face of a 26-year-old whose life was very limited until then.
Cameron Underwood, a resident of Yuba City, Calif, had lost a large part of his lower jaw, his nose, damage to the region of the upper face and on the palate by a self-inflicted facial gunshot wound in June 2016.
Underwood traveled to NYU Langone Medical Center, where the evaluations began. On July 13, 2017 he entered the waiting list and six months later received a transplant from a 23-year-old resident in Manhattan who had suffered brain death.
William Fisher was a chess champion, writer and aspiring filmmaker. He studied at Johns Hopkins University and had been registered as an organ donor since his adolescence. After the doctors determined that it was ideal for Underwood, the relatives decided to access to fulfill the will of the young man.
Rodriguez, considered the most complex face transplant specialist in the United States, proposed the surgery. Cameron’s transplant was the third such surgery attended by Rodriguez. The surgery, which lasted 25 hours, took place on 5 January, but it was not until this week that the results were brought to light. According to the data offered by the center, the operation involved a team of more than 100 medical professionals, including surgeons and nurses. Rodriguez, from Cuban parents and born in Miami, was in charge of everything from the beginning.
Underwood was a welder and engineer and suffered from a great depression when he tried to take his life with a gun and since then his life changed forever. “I already have a nose, a mouth and therefore I can smile, talk and eat solid food again ,” he said at a press conference last Thursday. Rodriguez believes that all patients “deserve a second chance and Cameron certainly deserved it,” he explained. “He didn’t live with his injury for a decade or more, like most other face transplant recipients. As a result, he didn’t have to deal with many of the psychopartner problems.
NYU reported that the operation was the most technologically advanced face transplant so far and the first one that used a 3D-printed donor facial mask in the United States.