Mitch Hunter: ‘The new me’
Mitch Hunter, now 35, was left disfigured after a horror smash 14 year ago which saw his vehicle plough into a 10,000 volt electrical pylon which literally melted the skin off his face and neck .
21-year-old Hunter, who served in the US army, needed 20 skin grafts from his leg and back after the brutal accident. Today he says that when his now-wife fell pregnant, he put himself forward for a full face transplanthe. He became the third person in the world to receive a full facial transplant earlier this year as he shares his journey to ‘full transformation’.
Serviceman: 21-year-old Mitch Hunter before the accident
Hosting a Q&A session with Reddit users where he answered questions about the remarkable transformation. He described how it took a team of 30 doctors more than 14 hours to painstakenly transform his face, replacing his eyes, nose and lips and reattaching facial muscles and nerves.
Mitch before the transplant surgery. The auto crash up the pylon blasted him with electricity for five minutes.
“The transplant it self took a little over 14 hours which involved debriding all my scarred tissue, then preparing the blood vessels and nerve endings to be attached to the new face.
“Once they placed the new face on, a lot of micro surgery was done, but surprisingly they only connected three nerve endings, both sides of my cheeks and forehead.”
Mitch convalescing post-surgery, [which was quite successful] and allowed him to keep some of his organs, like his ears
“The healing process to almost a year for it to finally settle in and look somewhat normal,” he continued. “I started gaining sensation about 6 days after the surgery, it was a tickling/tingling sensation.
“Within the first year I had gained back about 50-60% sensation.”
Mitch debuts his ‘new face’, January 2016
“Now five years out I have 100% sensation,” he continued. “The muscle control is pretty good, still learning to use mt lips better though, as I can’t smile big and show my teeth.
“But I can raise each eyebrow individually!”
When questioned Mitch from Indiana revealed he CAN grow his own facial hair, and kept his ears and hair.He said that he would have to take anti-rejection drugs forever.
Mitch,June 2016, hosting the reddit Q&A
On his appearance, he said: “I look a lot like myself to be honest, your bone structure gives you your appearance.
“Don’t worry about offending me, it’s damn near impossible, I make fun of my shortcomings all the time!
“I look nothing like the donor. They see me as me too, they don’t see any resemblance to their son.
“I coped very well, it never bothered me that it’s not my original face. What bothers me is someone had to die for me to receive this gift.”
Buffed Mitch, seen here in 2015
“The female passenger was struck by a down wire and I pulled her off and got blasted myself, 10k volts 7 amps for roughly 5 mins,” he said.
“Majority of the electricity exited my face.
“The electric shock has only messed with my memory.”
Mitch revealed he has recently had a “very emotional” meeting with his family.
Mitch and his mini-me: His reason for opting for a full face transplant
Mitch, circa 2016, with flowing beard
One cheeky user asked Mitch how the “Many-Faced God” is, after the Game of Thrones character.
Mitch replied: “He’s great.”
Talking about the accident he revealed that he suffered PTSD after the horrifying incident.