A 21-year-old woman is probably the youngest person to have undergone a full face transplant, according to a new report from National Geographic and an accompanying documentary, Katie’s Face, which follows the medical journey of Katie Stubblefield, who at 18 attempted suicide with a gun. Though she survived the attempt, her face was destroyed. But last year, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio offered Katie the chance at a new life, with a completely new face. “I had no clue what a face transplant was,” Katie told National Geographic. “When my parents helped explain everything to me, I was very excited to get a face again and to have function again.” On July 18, 2017, Stubblefield received a full facial transplant. “Knowing this patient now has the opportunity to live a functional life because of her face transplant is the greatest reward,” Brian Gastman, who was part of the surgical team, said at the time. “With a new nose, lips, palate, eyelids and jaw, she now has the full opportunity to re-integrate into society and have a future just like any other young adult. This surgery can give her back the self-esteem and confidence she lost.” Doctors hope the success of Katie’s transplant might be able to help illuminate ways to help wounded veterans in the future.
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