26-Year-Old Face Transplant Recipient's New Face Revealed 2 Years After Injury


Cameron Underwood of Yuba City, California, is NYU Langone Health’s second facial transplant case. His new face is now revealed less than 11 months after the landmark procedure.

Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound

In June 2016, then 24-year-old Cameron Underwood of Yuba City, California, suffered injuries from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Despite facial reconstruction efforts, he still lost a majority of his lower jaw and his nose, suffered damages to his upper face and palate, and was left with just one tooth, leaving his day-to-day life rather difficult.

Underwood was already officially listed for organ donation by July 2017, and by December of the same year, a donor was accepted for Underwood. In January 2018, a team of over 100 medical professionals performed the complex surgery that lasted for approximately 25 hours.

Landmark Face Transplant

Underwood’s face transplant was conducted just about 18 months after the injury, making it the shortest period between an injury and the face transplant in the United States. Furthermore, Underwood also had to travel the longest distance for a face transplant, as he had to fly from California to New York for the procedure, and his 6-month wait was also one of the shortest wait times for an organ donation.

This was the second face transplant for NYU Langone Health and the third one headed by Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez. M.D. DDS. NYU Langone Health is one of many medical centers in the United States with a dedicated program for face transplantation but the only one in New York State.

New Face After Transplant

Now, just two years after the injury and 11 months after the procedure, Underwood’s new face is revealed. According to Dr. Rodriguez, this will help with Underwood’s physical and emotional recovery so as to avoid living with a psychological burden of living with the disfigurement.

The facial donor was 23-year-old Manhattan resident, chess champion, and Johns Hopkins University student William Fisher, who signed up to be a donor when he was a teenager. Apart from his face, he also donated his eyes, heart, kidneys, liver, and other tissues for research.

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