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Face Transplant Exceeds Guy's Expectations Ten Years After Tragedy

Update Date: Feb 18, 2017 10:30 AM EST

Andy Sandness, 31, from Wyoming underwent a face transplant at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota ten years after a failed suicide bid. Three weeks after the operation, the bandages were taken off and he saw his new face and said it far exceeded his expectations.

It was the first face transplant at the medical center. Dr. Samir Mardini, a plastic surgeon who specializes in facial reconstruction led the 56-hour long operation. Together with his team of 60 medics they gave Sandness his new face.

The face belonged to Calen Ross, a 21-year-old father-to-be who shot himself in June of 2016.  It took the doctors 24 hours to procure Ross' face, they had to remove bone, muscle, skin and nerves before they rebuilt his face below the eyes. Sandness had Ross' nose, cheeks, mouth, lips, jaw, chin, and even his teeth according to Daily Mail.

His father and brother joined several doctors and nurses at the Mayo Clinic after the bandages were taken off. He looked at his new self in the mirror and wrote four words in a spiral notebook as he could not speak clearly.

He wrote "far exceeded my expectations." Dr. Mardini read the message to everyone and said "You don't know how happy that makes us feel."

According to Standard, in 2006, Sandness was deeply depressed that he put a rifle beneath his chin and pulled the trigger. When police arrived at the scene he begged them and said "Please, please don't let me die!" He realized he made a terrible mistake.

Sandness said he felt blessed to now have a nose and mouth. Used to be depressed, he has now become a more positive adult, he was thankful and said "the looks are a bonus".

He is now happy to be able to eat steak and pizza again. He recently attended an ice hockey game saying he was "just another face in the crowd."

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