Revival After 11 Years: Andy Sandness Undergoes A 56 Hour Face Transplant Surgery In The US

3 min


Andy Sandness, a 32 years-old electrician, comes from a western U.S. state called Wyoming. At the age of 21 in 2006, he committed an almost-fatal suicide attempt. This left him physically disabled. Therefore, he recently found himself undergo a miraculous and a magnanimous transplant surgery. The treatment took up to 56 hours and required the of strength of 60 surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists and others to help him recover!

“The results had been sensational and nothing short of a miracle,” said Dr. Samir Mardini, a plastic surgeon who assisted during the surgery. The aim of ridding him of his disability was achieved. He is now once again able to chew, speak, breathe and smell. These are the vital human senses, which if not in order can make a person call for death more often than not.

The Suicide Attempt

Andy had shot himself after facing constant depression. The young man said that he had realized his huge mistake soon after pulling the trigger while the gun was placed in his mouth. He didn’t end up dying. On the contrary, his life became even more difficult. He had eight surgeries over a four and a half month period but could still hardly bear to look at himself in the mirror, said he.

Andy was not satisfied with the initial surgeries
Andy was not satisfied with the initial surgeries

Andy had set out to find a facial donor last year.  He had added his name to a waiting list in the United Network for Organ Sharing.

How Was The Transplant Surgery Possible?

His wait was over last June with another attempt to suicide. Calen “Rudy” Ross, from the Midwest brutally shot himself while his 19-year-old wife, Lilly, was eight months pregnant. Ross had a last wish to donate his organs, including his face. This enabled Sandness to go through the remarkable surgery.

Andy told the doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota,“It far exceeded my expectations.”

He added, “When you realize the heftiness of a loss, you always regret it, but once you get a second chance to have it back, you never take it for granted.”

Appointments were lined up in December 2016, following his recovery, to tighten skin on his face and neck. Formation of bones around his eyes has also started taking place. He’s been seeing a speech therapist to help his facial muscles grow stronger.

Andy Sandness
Sandness is grateful for the second chance.

Recovery is being carried out in Rochester nowadays. Andy is likely to return home in eastern Wyoming soon, the team said. Sandness feels immensely grateful for getting back a normal appearance.

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