Published On: Sat, Oct 20th, 2012

Richard Lee Norris Out of Reclusion After Face Transplant Surgery (Photo)

After 15 years of living in reclusion at his residence in Hillsville, Virginia, Richard Lee Norris, the man known to have the most comprehensive face transplant surgery in history, finally bid goodbye to the world he formerly lived.

Seven months since he received the face transplant surgery, Norris is now able to smile, smell, taste, eat and even show facial expressions, a gift he was most thankful for the doctors at the University of Maryland School of Medicine who have done his 36-hour surgery led by Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez.

‘This accidental injury just destroyed everything. The rest of his friends and colleagues went on to start getting married, having children, owning homes. He wants to make up for all of that,’ Dr. Rodriguez said.

Back in 1997, Norris accidentally shot himself in the face, which caused him to lose his nose, lips and most movement in his mouth.

Richard Lee Norris Before and After Photos
Image Credit: University of Maryland

Richard had the face transplant last March after receiving a face from an anonymous donor. The operation involved replacing both of his jaws, teeth, tongue, and skin and underlying nerve and muscle tissue from scalp to neck. After the surgery and months of physical therapy, his doctors said that the motor function on the right side of his face is about 80 percent of normal while that on the left side is now back to 40 percent normal.

Norris, who used to hide behind a surgical mask and usually goes out at night to hide his physical appearance, could not express how happy he was now that he does not have to hide from the people.

“People used to stare at me because of my disfigurement. Now they can stare at me in amazement and in the transformation I have taken. I am now able to walk past people and no one even gives me a second look,” he said.

Congratulations to the team of 100 doctors, scientists, plastic surgeos, and other medical specialists who made the operation successful! Kudos for a job well done!

About the Author

- is an Interaction Designer with over 12 years experience building and designing websites, games and applications for clients ranging from small startups to multi-billion dollar companies. He's now a co-founder of several start-ups yet to be known in the world of social media.

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  1. Ron Mor says:

    We need to hear more about these types of stories, both informative and uplifting. Thank you Ann Curry.

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