The world's first full face-transplantee appeared before TV cameras in Spain Monday, thanking his doctors and the family of the donor.
Identified only as Oscar, the 31-year-old spoke with considerable difficulty at a news conference at Barcelona's Vall d'Hebron hospital, where he was operated on in late March.
During the 24-hour surgery, doctors lifted an entire face, including jaw, nose, cheekbones, muscles, teeth and eyelids, and placed it mask-like onto the man. He has been described as a farmer who was unable to breathe or eat on his own after accidentally shooting himself in the face five years ago.
The head of the surgical team, Dr. Joan Pere Barret, said Monday that Oscar will need between a year and 18 months of physical therapy and is expected to regain up to 90 percent of his facial functions. He is now being released from the hospital and sent home.