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Cameron Underwood revealed the transformation after 25 hours of operation



A man who is undergoing a grueling face transplant surgery earlier this year has revealed himself new to the world today.

Cameron Underwood, 26, from California struggled with depression and alcohol abuse which resulted in him trying to take his life in June 2016.

Suicide attempts destroyed most of his face but miraculously, he survived.

Cameron lost most of his lower jaw, each tooth except one, his nose, and suffered severe damage to the maxillary area and the palate.

Formerly a welder and engineer, Cameron had tried several reconstructive operations before he found Doctor Eduardo Rodriguez at New York University Langone Health in New York.

His mother, Beverly Bailey-Potter, said he had read an article in People Magazine about NYU's face transplant program, and decided to ask his son.

"When we read about what Dr. Rodriguez had done for his other patients, we knew he was the only person we trusted Cameron's life," Beverly said.

"We are willing to travel long distances."

Now, almost 11 months after the 25-hour operation, Cameron works to live the life he once knew by being outdoors, playing sports and spending time with friends and family.

"I am very grateful to have a face transplant because it gives me a second chance in life," he said.

"Even though I still recovered and regained sensation and mobility, mostly with my lips, I was still very happy with the results,

"I have a nose and mouth so I can smile, talk and eat solid food again."

Cameron said it was "hearted" the first time he saw his new face, adding: "It was amazing with excitement."

According to Dr. Rodriguez, when he first met Cameron, he was sure he could help him regain his quality of life.

"For all of us, it's amazing to be a part of this and make it happen," he said.

"There's no way we can bring it back to normal life without a face transplant."

Rodriguez led a team of more than 100 medical professionals to complete the operation, which began on January 5.

Required use of planning 3D computer surgery and 3D mold masks from donor faces – a new approach for the medical team.

This procedure includes the transplantation and reconstruction of the upper and lower jaw bones, including all 32 teeth and gums, the roof of the mouth, lower eyelids and cheeks, nose and parts of the nasal passages.

Donor Cameron is a 23-year-old writer and filmmaker, William Fisher from New York.

William also struggled with mental illness for several years before his death.

His mother, Sally, said in a statement: "The death of my son is a tragedy.

"I am grateful that, in respect of its decisions, we are able to give life to others."

William, who was registered as an organ donor in his teenage years, was identified as an Underwood donor the day before a life-changing operation.

Today, Cameron thanks Rodriguez, NYU Langone Health, his family, William, and the Fisher family.

"I will always respect Will's heritage," he said.

– If you or someone you know needs help, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. For help with depression, please see Beyond Blue for a list of organizations that can help.

This story originally appeared in The Sun and was republished here with permission.


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