'It's been well worth it': Face transplant patient reveals incredible transformation

'It's been well worth it': Face transplant patient reveals incredible transformation

Underwood's successful transplant follows on the heels of a similar procedure on 21-year-old Katie Stubblefield, the youngest person in the US to undergo the surgery. His eyesight and speech were also permanently impaired, and his disfigured face only worsened his depression, forcing Underwood to wear a mask in public.

He was left without the majority of his nose, lower jaw and teeth following his suicide attempt in June 2016.

"The life that had been in pause is now back in play", Rodriguez said.

His face transplant was carried out in NY in January this year, and his recovery has been so remarkable that he was able to skydive earlier this year.

The transplant, which took place just 18 months after his injury, marked the shortest time between a patient's injury and their face transplant.

He did not just help Mr Underwood.

After Rodriguez performed a series of physical and psychological evaluations to ensure that the Californian was a suitable fit for the operation, they put him on the waiting list.

At a press conference held on Thursday, Underwood told reporters he is happy with the results of the transplant, according to the Daily Mail.

So it's incredible that, less than two years later, Underwood was smiling again, thanks to cutting-edge facial surgery that he says gave him "a second chance at life".

He can smile again, speak more easily, eat solid food, and doesn't have to endure staring from strangers in public. I'm also eternally grateful to Dr Rodriguez and his face transplant team. "As a result, he has not had to deal with numerous long-term psychosocial issues, which often lead to issues like severe depression, substance abuse, and other potentially harmful behaviours".

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More than 40 face transplants have been performed worldwide, but this particular one led to significant milestones.

Cam Underwood with his mother Bev Bailey-Potter (left) and Sally Fisher (r), the mother of the son whose face was used in the transplant (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for NYU Langone).

Underwood's face donor was William Fisher, a 23-year-old Manhattan resident and aspiring filmmaker who was a student at Johns Hopkins University. After Fisher's mother gave her consent for the transplant, Fisher's lower face was transported to Langone and Underwood and his family trekked to the East Coast - in the face of the oncoming "bomb cyclone" snowstorm - with the help of air ambulance services.

"But what I think what this photograph confirms is that Cam is living and doing the things he enjoys", he added.

"There was no way we could have ever taken him back to a normal life without a face transplant", the surgeon said.

Sally Fisher and Underwood met earlier this year on an episode of ABC News' "20/20."

Underwood, from Yuba City, California, revealed his new face alongside Rodriguez at NYU Langone Health on Thursday. "I guess I'm a little biased". So far, his body has responded well to the transplant.

"We hope my experience inspires others who have severe facial injuries to have hope, as I was inspired by others who came before me", Underwood said in the statement. "The journey hasn't been easy, but it's been well worth it".

And in May, a 65-year-old Canadian man named Maurice Desjardins became the oldest person to receive a face transplant after a hunting accident damaged his face.

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