It's incredible what cosmetic surgery can do for patients these days. It's not just about getting a tummy tuck or a pair of silicon friends anymore. These days, surgeons and doctors can do all kinds of procedures we would never have imagined possible. And in the case of this young man, they can literally save his life. Thought a face transplant was only possible in John Woo movies? Think again. The video of this inspirational tale and incredible operation will have you believing in miracles again...
A Cruel Twist Of Fate
Back in 2006, Andy Sandness was a completely different person. While he was an otherwise normal guy living in Newcastle, Wyoming, he had a deep and dark secret: he had been battling depression for years. This isn't totally unusual - the grim finger of depression touches many of us these days - but for Andy Sandness, he had reached his limit. And during a severe bout, he decided to take the last step, and take his own life.
"I just remember putting one in the chamber and looking down the barrel of the gun and I said 'ah, #$@! it' and pulled the trigger," said Andy later. The universe, it seemed, had something different in store for him. His shot missed, he survived, but half of his face - jaw, teeth, chin, and nose - was completely destroyed. His life had been saved, but he would never be the same...
Life Without A Face
If his depression had been difficult before, it was even more brutal now that he had only half a face. To the public, with his prosthetics and missing features, he looked something like a monster. He was stared at and made fun of, and he found that he could no longer engage in social situations. In other words, despite him surviving the gunshot, his life seemed effectively over.
But there was one thing that held him back from sliding into a suicide attempt once more. The first time that he pulled the trigger, he felt instant regret. He knew that deep down, he wanted to live. So despite his disfigurement, he clung on to this hope and will to live. There was no way he would try it again, because he realized the value of his own life. And his strength and courage served him well, because after 10 years there came a shining ray of hope...
The Stunning Transformation
Look at that picture and you might think "who is that person"? Well, it's Andy Sandness, just weeks after his incredible transformation. He had been waiting for years to see if he could get a transplant, but it was beginning to look like all hope was lost. Until a specialist team from the Mayo Clinic took on his case and changed his life forever.
It took 60 surgeons and nurses and 56 hours of surgery to put organ donor Calen Ross's face onto Andy's, and there were a million little things that could have gone wrong. But in the end, the surgery was an outstanding success. He's still recovering, but the signs that his life has been restored to him are already there. He's getting "good stares instead of bad stares", and for the first time in the last decade, children are not recoiling from his sight. It's been an unbelievably touching rollercoaster ride of a life, but things are finally looking up for Andy Sandness.