These amazing snaps of face transplant patient Richard Lee Norris reveal the stunning progress he has made in just over a year. The American suffered horrific injuries to his jaw, teeth and tongue in a 1997 gun accident and spent much of the following 14 years living as a recluse.
But after the ground-breaking surgery — at Maryland Medical Centre, in Baltimore — Richard, 38, has learnt to eat, talk, shave and even brush his teeth again.
His confidence is now so high he is planning to set up a foundation to help future transplant patients.
Richard said: 'When I was disfigured, just walking the sidewalk, I was surprised that more people didn't walk into telephone poles or break their necks to stare at me.
'Now there's no-one paying attention. Unless they know me personally, they don't know I am a face transplant patient. That is the goal we had.'
Richard has said he is humbled by the kindness of Maryland relatives of Joshua Aversano, who agreed to donate his tissue and organs – the 21-year-old died after being struck by a van while crossing the street.
Richard suffered horrendous injuries when he shot himself — the operation to repair the damage took 36 hours.
It was considered one of the most complicated ever, as it included work far back into his mouth on his teeth and tongue.
He is now releasing a book describing his experiences with facial disfigurement.
In it, he talks about facing cruelty from strangers and his battles with addiction, but he is also unsure about whether he would change what happened to him.
He continued: 'Those ten years of hell I lived through, it has given me such a wealth of knowledge. It's unreal. It has put some of the best people in my life.'