Less than a year after having a 25-hour face transplant operation, a US man is showing remarkable progress.
Cameron Underwood, from Yuba City, California, underwent the surgery in January after attempting to take his own life with a gun in June 2016.
The bullet wound left him without a nose and most of his lower jaw and teeth. It also badly damaged his eye sockets.
He first underwent conventional reconstruction surgery before having the transplant after his mother, Beverly Bailey-Potter, read a magazine article about Dr Eduardo Rodriguez at the New York University Langone Medical Center.
The operation involved a 100-strong team, led by Dr Rodriguez, and since it was carried out, Mr Underwood has had monthly follow-up appointments and has continued with physical, occupational and speech therapy.
He has even gone sky-diving but will remain on anti-rejection drugs throughout his life.
The 26-year-old man remains positive and focused on his new life and is grateful to his 23-year-old donor Will Fisher and the Fisher family for what they have done for him.
He said: “Will and his family made an incredible sacrifice to give back to me what had been lost.
“I will never forget that. I’m also eternally grateful to Dr Rodriguez and his face transplant team. My family and I could not have made this journey without them.
“We hope my experience inspires others who have severe facial injuries to have hope, as I was inspired by others who came before me. The journey hasn’t been easy, but it’s been well worth it.”
Mr Underwood’s physical, emotional and psychological recovery was helped by the relatively short time between his injury and face transplant.
Dr Rodriguez, a professor of reconstructive plastic surgery, said: “Cameron has not lived with his injury for a decade or longer like most other face transplant recipients have.
“As a result, he has not had to deal with many of the long-term psycho-social issues which often lead to issues like severe depression, substance abuse, and other potentially harmful behaviours.”
Mr Underwood also experienced one of the shortest wait times for a donor, the hospital said.
Once he was approved for a transplant and put on the list for organ donation, he waited only six months for the call that would change his life.
Mr Fisher, who died suddenly on New Year’s Eve 2017, was an aspiring filmmaker and writer.
He had registered as an organ donor when he was a teenager.
He did not just help Mr Underwood. He also gave his heart, kidneys, liver, eyes and other tissues.
More than 40 face transplants have been carried out worldwide since 2005.
Mr Underwood’s surgery marked the most technologically advanced transplant as it included 3D-printed surgical planning.