The Remarkable Saga of a Young Woman’s Face Transplant

Katie Stubblefield became the youngest person to have a face transplant operation.

Katie Stubblefield lost her face when she was 18. But then, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio gave her a new one when she was 21, making Stubblefield the youngest person to have a face transplant in U.S. history.

National Geographic documented the journey in photographs.

The improbable medical saga began on March 25, 2014, when Stubblefield was distraught enough to attempt suicide. She shot herself with a rifle, taking most of her face off in the process.

She had 22 surgeries to reconstruct her face before the transplant.

Then on May 4, 2017, the most important of the procedures she had to endure began when surgeons removed the face from a donor. The operation lasted 31-hours but the net result was a 100 percent replacement of Stubblefield’s face.

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