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Face transplant: 21-Year-Old girl from United States gets new life after shooting herself in the face

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 16 August 2018, 15:50 IST

It took 31-hour-long face transplant surgery, a 21-year-old girl underwent 17 surgeries before finally going under the knife for the transformational procedure.

Katie Stubblefield's disfigured her face when she attempted suicide at the age of 18.

This drastic decision which she took was because following a number of emotional hurdles she faced as a teenager, according to CNN.

She shot at her own face by which her nose was damaged, the mouth was disfigured and it also displaced her eyes.

After having more than 20 surgeries over four years, Katie Stubblefield finally has a new face.

“I’m starting over in a lot of ways,” Stubblefield says through her parents, Robb and Alesia. (Her speech is still recovering after jaw and tongue surgery last month.) “I feel like I’m a toddler again. I’m having to learn everything all over again.”

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Dr. Brian Gastman, a plastic surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic who was part of Stubblefield’s care team, says the next chapter of her story will be about embracing this new normal.

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“As a face transplant patient, you have a new identity. She’s going to influence people in ways she could never have done before. It’s a different outlook,” Gastman says. “I think she can rebuild; that’s what she’s doing.”

The 21-year-old was put on the waiting list for a face transplant in 2016; over a year later a donor was found, making Katie the 40th face transplant patient in the world. She was operated upon in May 2017, making her the youngest one in the US to undergo the procedure.

Now, she have to take medication for the rest of her life so that the risk of transplant rejection can be to minimize and also taking physical and occupational therapy from time to time, along with the help from a speech therapist, as per CNN.

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First published: 16 August 2018, 15:50 IST