21-year-old receives historic face transplant

Woman, 21, Gets Full Face Transplant After Shooting Face Off In Suicide Attempt — Pics

Stubblefield was the youngest person to have an entire face transplant surgery in America, making her story a special one.

Katie Stubblefield, 21, is the youngest face transplant recipient in US history, as featured on the cover of National Geographic's September issue.

The young woman survived but was critically injured, having lost her forehead, nose and sinuses, mouth except for the corners of her lips and much of the bones that make up the jaws and front of her face.

"I had no clue what a face transplant was", Katie said.

Ms Schneider had a hard life, born with drugs in her system to a drug addicted mother who died when she was only 13-years-old. Doctors found a match for the face transplant, 31-year-old Adrea Schneider, who died from a drug overdose.

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After the suicide attempt, Katie lost most of her vision, had a compromised ability to speak and was unable to take care of herself, the page said.

"That's number one, but beyond that, I'd like her to have some level of normalcy", he said.

A 21-year-old woman who tried to take her own life by shooting herself in the face has become the youngest person in the United States to receive a face transplant.

Plastic surgeon Dr Brian Gastman, the first clinic doctor to see Katie and the man who would go on to lead her transplant procedure, recalled to NatGeo that he was initially only concerned with stabilizing Katie, and he anxious that even if that went to plan, there wouldn't be enough tissue available for corrective surgeries due to her small size.

"We made a plate designed for the combination of Katie and her sister's jaw, and that's what we used to make Katie's jaw before we did the transplant", Gastman said. She also has to continue with physical and occupational therapy for the time being.

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As Katie Stubblefield brushed her fingers across her face, she could feel the wound. And she is speaking about her surgery to help warn of the lasting harms of suicide.

Gastman said that in his 27 years of training and practice this was one of the worst face traumas he'd ever seen.

That was a near-total face transplant.

Katie and her parents have been living at Cleveland's Ronald McDonald House for the last four years, the longest residents in the facility's history. "Now I want to help other people", she said. A grant from the US Department of Defense, through the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, covered Katie's transplant, according to National Geographic. She hopes to go to college and eventually find a career in counselling and motivational speaking. Get all the details on her groundbreaking surgery here. As well as helping Katie, Andrea's organs ended up saving the lives of seven other people.

Stubblefield will remain a lifelong subject in the study of a still experimental procedure.

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The young girl's journey in search of a functional face started in March 2016 when she was put on a waiting list.

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