When Rebekah Aversano lost her brother three years ago, she never imagined she would be seeing his face again, let alone on another person, but thanks to the massive advancements in medical technology, she found exactly that happening after her brother’s face was transplanted onto another man.
Joshua Aversano died in a car accident and his family made the decision to donate his face, which his mother claimed would have been what he wanted. And there is no denying that it changed the life of Richard Norris, who had blown off part of his face after an accident with a shotgun fifteen years prior.
The transplant took place at the University of Maryland’s medical centre back in 2012 and took 36 hours to complete, and was one of the most complicated transplants of all time, with teeth, a jaw, tongue muscles and nerves all taken from Aversano and transplanted to Norris.
With the risks of both infection and rejection huge and a survival rate of only 50%, no one knew if the transplant would actually be successful, but three years on, Norris is living a full life, despite having to take anti-viral drugs for the rest of his life and being banned from smoking, drinking or getting sunburned, although he would probably tell you that was a pretty small price to pay to have a face again.