21-year-old becomes youngest U.S. face transplant recipient

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A 21-year-old woman has become the youngest person in the U.S. to receive a full-face transplant, three years after surviving a suicide attempt.

National Geographic reports that Katie Stubblefield was 18 when she shot herself with a hunting rifle. The bullet went through her forehead, nose, sinuses, and jaw, and damaged her eyes.

Doctors in Memphis managed to save her, but weren't able to close her wounds. Stubblefield was later moved to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, where surgeons crafted her a new nasal passage, and rebuilt her jaw and skull using bone grafts and titanium.

A distraction device was attached to her facial bones and tightened daily to move her eyes into better alignment.

Once a suitable donor was found, doctors removed the face and transplanted it onto Stubblefield, connecting nerves and blood vessels in a grueling 31-hour procedure.

She was discharged in August 2017 after a nearly three-month long recovery period, but will need to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of her life.

The brave survivor plans to attend online college and go into counseling, in hopes that she can raise awareness about suicide prevention.

She's continuing to undergo physical and occupational therapy, in addition to seeing a speech therapist and taking Braille lessons.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Depiction of face damaged from attempted suicide via rifle
2. Depiction of damaged face and skull being repaired
3. Depiction of device used to reposition eyes
4. Depiction of face transplant

VOICEOVER (in English):
"Katie Stubblefield was 18 when she shot herself with a hunting rifle. The bullet went through her forehead, nose, sinuses, and jaw, and damaged her eyes."

"Stubblefield was later moved to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, where surgeons crafted her a new nasal passage, and rebuilt her jaw and skull using bone grafts and titanium."

"A distraction device was attached to her facial bones and tightened daily to move her eyes into better alignment."

"Once a suitable donor was found, doctors removed the face and transplanted it onto Stubblefield, connecting nerves and blood vessels in a grueling 31-hour procedure."

SOURCES:
National Geographic, CNN
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/09/face-transplant-katie-stubblefield-photography-interactive/
https://edition.cnn.com/2018/08/14/health/face-transplant-suicide-attempt-natgeo-profile/index.html