On 17th February 2017, 3D Printing Gave This Man His Life (and Face) Back
When Andy Sandness was 21, he attempted suicide by shooting himself. He lost his jaw and nose entirely.
He was taken to the emergency room and urgently operated. The doctors managed to save his life, but the boy would have had difficulty chewing, swallowing, talking, breathing and feeling: the bullet had literally destroyed his face.
He had to live without a nose and with a deformed face for more than ten years, but today he decided to change his life:
“I was stupid. I made the wrong choice, and now I have to pay the consequences for the rest of my life. “
The doctors of the Mayo Clinic have studied and used 3D printing models and virtual surgery to prepare the very first face transplant in the world, for which the entire operation lasted 56 hours and involved a team of 60 professionals, including doctors and nurses.
His face was given to him by a man who committed suicide recently. After learning about Andy’s story, the boy’s family accepted immediately.
To strengthen the muscles of the face and to learn to use the tongue in a “new mouth”, Sandness is undergoing a series of lingual exercises; he also regains his sense of smell and manages to breathe and eat normally.
After the surgery Sandness could not see his face for three long weeks.
The results are amazing, not just from the aesthetic point of view, Sandness is now able to breathe normally and smell again.
“It’s when you lose something you’ve always had that you understand its value”.
These ten years must have been very hard, but Andy Sandness will finally be happy to be just a face in the crowd.