Martin Schoeller / Via National Geographic
After losing most of her face in 2014, Katie Stubblefield has become the youngest person within the world to receive a full face transplant at age twenty one. The advanced procedure was completed last could by a team of surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, when Katie had undergone quite a dozen surgeries to reconstruct her face.
Now, quite a year later, Katie is ill well and return the flexibility to talk, eat, and show feeling — things that were not possible because of the trauma caused by a self-inflicted shooting wound. The 21-year-old is currently victimization her expertise to assist others associate degreed become an advocate for suicide interference.
Her journey is featured within the cowl story of National Geographic’s September issue, that is titled “The Story of a Face,” and a full-length National Geographic documentary.
In 2014, Katie was a senior in highschool in Oxford, Mississippi, wherever her family settled when moving from American state to KY throughout her sophomore year, per National Geographic.
In addition to the 2 major moves, Katie was handling alternative obstacles. She suffered from chronic epithelial duct issues and required her vesica removed when having her appendix taken out the previous year. many months when the vesica surgery, her mother, Alesia, dead lost her job.
Then in March she went through a painful breakup and tried suicide. Katie survived, however knowledgeable about harm to her nose and sinuses, forehead, mouth and jaw, and her seeing was broken.
According to National Geographic, Katie has no memory of the event, and solely learned regarding it from her oldsters within the hospital. “I ne’er thought of doing that ever before, then on hearing regarding it, I simply didn’t savvy to handle it,” she told the magazine. “I felt thus guilty that I had place my family through such pain. I felt alarming.”
Five weeks when the incident, she came across the Cleveland Clinic and was put out the care of Dr. Brian Gastman, a operating surgeon.
Katie doesn’t keep in mind most of 2014, a year she had multiple facial reconstruction surgeries, some involving affixation tissues from her legs to hide her wounds.
But the facial reconstruction surgeries weren’t enough to boost Katie’s quality of life. Finally, Gastman and her surgeons thought of a full face transplant — a posh procedure that involves the transplantation of tissue paper from a deceased donor onto the face.
Katie went through in depth medicine and social evaluations to substantiate she was an appropriate candidate and understood the risks, that embody an opportunity that her system can reject the tissue. The transplant was still thought of experimental, however Katie selected to endure the procedure, per National Geographic.
In 2016, Katie was listed as a candidate for a face transplant and her doctors began victimization 3D models to arrange the surgery. In could 2017, she was matched with a donor World Health Organization had died from a drug drug.
The 31-hour face transplant procedure was performed could four by a team of doctors junction rectifier by Gastman. it absolutely was the third and most in depth face transplant completed at the Cleveland Clinic, wherever the primary face transplant within the United States was performed in 2008. Doctors were able to replace 100% of Katie’s tissue paper. Since the transplant, she has required many follow-up surgeries, however her ability to swallow, speak, and eat have improved.
The first face transplant was performed in France in 2005, and since then just about forty face transplants are performed worldwide. there’s no laborious range for the success rate, and therefore the risks with facial transplants area unit still wide — however there are major advancements in surgical techniques and drug therapies to manage the system and stop rejection.
The surgeons were unable to revive the maximum amount of Katie’s vision as that they had hoped, and he or she has learned Braille. However, her oldsters told National Geographic they’re hopeful regarding the likelihood of an eye fixed transplant within the future.
Eventually, Katie hopes to enrol in on-line school courses and is considering turning into a counselor. She told National Geographic she desires to talk to teenagers regarding suicide interference and therefore the worth of life. “So many of us have helped me; currently i need to assist others.”