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A Californian man who tried to kill himself with a shotgun has undergone the most advanced face transplant surgery ever performed, report agencies.
Cameron Underwood, 26, had struggled for years with depression, and in 2016, he placed a shotgun under his chin and pulled the trigger.
Two years later, he made his first public appearance after undergoing a series of procedures to restore his face, teeth, and jaws.
“Thank you for not giving up on me,” he said Thursday during a press conference at New York University Langone Health.
Underwood needed five months of skin graft surgery in order for plastic surgeons to devise a plan to reconstruct his face.
The shotgun blast had left him missing most of his lower jaw, his palate and all but one tooth.
At New York Langone, a team of more than 100 medical professionals worked on redesigning Underwood’s countenance.
The face transplant, performed in January, took 25 hours.
His mother, Bev Bailey-Potter, told People magazine she contact NYU’s Langone center after reading an article about a face transplant performed by Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez.
A donor was found in January after 23-year-old Will Fisher, a New York City resident, died. He had listed himself as an organ donor.
“It hasn’t been easy,” Underwood said. “But it has been worth it.”