Woman's incredible journey for a new face

17 August, 2018, 15:26 | Author: Tina Rodriquez
  • Woman, 21, Gets Full Face Transplant After Shooting Face Off In Suicide Attempt — Pics

A 21-year-old woman who tried to take her own life by shooting herself in the face has become the youngest person in the United States to receive a face transplant. "Then when you receive a transplant, you're so thankful".

Her journey was covered in the September issue of National Geographic magazine's cover story, which documents her journey of struggle, humanity and hope. In 2014, during her senior year of high school, her world upended.

She goes through physical and occupational therapy, takes Braille lessons, sees a speech therapist, and will have to take immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of her life, just so her immune system won't attack her transplanted tissues.

"I had never thought of doing that before", Ms Stubblefield said of her attempt to kill herself.

Five weeks after Katie almost died from the gunshot wound, she arrived at the Cleveland Clinic in dire need of reconstructive surgery.

The procedure performed on Stubblefield included transplantation of the scalp, the forehead, upper and lower eyelids, eye sockets, nose, upper cheeks, upper jaw and half of lower jaw, upper teeth, lower teeth, partial facial nerves, facial muscles, and skin - effectively replacing 100 percent of her facial tissue, according to a press release issued by Cleveland Clinic.

When Katie was later told about the possible procedure, she said, she was equally stunned.

"I am able to touch my face now, and it feels incredible", she said.

"When my parents helped explain everything to me, I was very excited to get a face again and to have function again", Katie said, via WTKR. Schneider was a registered organ donor, but it was her mother, Sandra, who reportedly approved of the transplant.

Stubblefield survived a self-inflicted gunshot wound at age 18.

After a 31-hour procedure, Katie Stubblefield emerged from an operation room past year with a new face and new possibilities.

In 2017, it was decided that Stubblefield would undergo a face transplant. The world's fist successful face transplant was conducted at Vall d'Hebron University Hospital in Spain in 2010.

Following the attempt, part of her forehead, nose and sinuses, her mouth except for the corners of her lips and much of her jaw bones were gone, according to National Geographic.

'We would do that for anybody, but many of us are parents ourselves and we saw what her own parents were going through'. "We thought it was just such a moving and inspiring story that is about everything from human journey to breakthrough medicine and science". While her doctors first focused on reconstruction to fix the damage she had done to her face, they were able to replace her face with one from a donor - although the entire process spanned three years.

The surgical team used CT scans of the jaw of Katie's older sister, Olivia McCay, to 3D-print a model template for the reconstruction. "Forget the face transplant; we're talking about just being alive".



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