This Man's Suicide Attempt 10 Years Ago Destroyed His Face, Now After Face Transplant He Looks Amazing!
Andy Sandness had survived and pulled through that dark time that took place a decade ago. Andy fell into deep depression in his early twenties and had attempted to take his own life. Somehow, he survived the fatal blow, but his face was left disfigured by the wound. Now at 31 years old, he had undergone the most successful face transplant the world has ever seen.
Meet Andy Sandness, a small town guy who grew up in Newcastle, Wyoming.
This is one of the last photos of him before the horrific incident that occurred in 2006 which left him unrecognizable.
One day, at the most intense time of his depression, Andy decided that he was done with life for good.
"I just remember putting one in the chamber and looking down the barrel of the gun and I said 'ah, f#*! it' and pulled the trigger," Said Andy in an interview. He added: "I was going through some rough times, ya know, I mean I made the wrong choices,".
Lucky for Andy, he survived the fatal gunshot, but was left severely injured and was rushed to the emergency room.
Large portions of his lower face, jaw, teeth, chin and his nose were completely obliterated by the blow.
Reed Sandness, Andy's father, can well remember the day that the incident happened.
"The only thing I got to see was him coming out of the emergency room with his head, with gauze wrapped around, with a straw coming out to breathe in," said his father Reed.
As you can tell from the photo, Andy was missing most of his lower portion of his face. Somehow he was still able to breathe and even speak but his face was a total mess with a hole in the middle of his face.
A side shot can well demonstrate the extent of his deformation.
A few years had gone by and Andy was still waiting for news regarding his eligibility for a face transplant. He was desperate to regain function of his nose and "get good stares as opposed to bad stares," as he said.
He wore a rubber nose that would often fall off and wondered if there could be other options possible for him. There were eventually a few specialists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota who investigated Andy's case and eventually agreed that he is an appropriate candidate for a face transplant.
In 2016, he received the best news that he wished for. They found him had a potential face donor and a team of 60 surgeons and nurses will perform a 56-hour long surgery to recreate Andy a new face.
"Everybody went into this totally knowing their role, knowing what to expect. Every step has been thought out 1,000 times," said head surgeon Dr. Samir Mardini. The surgery went very well. Take a look at the final result and you will be shocked to see the result.
Now, this is how Andy's face looks like after about a year post surgery. He is wearing the face of an organ donor named Calen Ross.
When you look closely you can tell there's a strange scar circling his under eyes, but otherwise, you wouldn't be able to recognize that he actually had something close to a face transplant!
Here are Andy and his physical therapist Helga Smars admiring his new face.
In a heartwarming moment after the surgery, Andy wrote a note to his doctors saying the surgery "Far exceeded my expectation."
Andy is still recovering from the surgery and still goes to meetings with his doctors at the Mayo Clinic. Other than that, everything is going very smoothly for him.
The operation was such a success that for the first time in years, a child ran to Andy in an elevator and did not react negatively to his face. For Andy, having a normal interaction like that meant the world to him. "I knew then, that the surgery was a success," said Andy regarding that moment.
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