US doctors at the University of Maryland gave Richard Norris a new face, including jaw, teeth and tongue, in an operation that is the most extensive face transplant ever performed.
Richard Norris, 37, has lived as a recluse for 15 years after being severely injured in a gun accident, and wore a mask whenever he went outside.
The surgery was funded by the US Navy, which hopes the techniques will help casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Surgeons who carried out the 36-hour operation say it was part of a series of transplant operations lasting 72 hours, using organs from one donor in five patients including Richard Norris.
He lost his lips and nose in the accident, and only had limited movement of his mouth.
The lead surgeon says Richard Norris will now get his life back.
“Our goal is to restore function as well as have aesthetically pleasing results,” said Eduardo Rodriguez.
The team at the University of Maryland says Richard Norris is now brushing his teeth and shaving, and has regained his sense of smell.
The US government estimates that 200 wounded troops might be eligible for face transplants.
The first face transplant was performed in France in 2005, on a woman who was mauled by her dog.
In 2010 surgeons in Spain carried out the world’s first full face transplant.