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Face Transplant Recipient Meets His Donor’s Widow, Gives Her Closure

Andy Sandness’ face was destroyed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound and he is the recipient of Lilly Ross deceased husband’s face. The widow and the face transplant recipient recently met, instantly forming an unbelievable bond.

face transplant

Inside Edition/Youtube

Interviewed by Inside Edition, Sandness said: “I don’t know if you can ever say enough thanks for what they’ve given me.”

The 32-year-old man’s face was horrifically ruined by a gunshot he inflicted on himself. His good-looking face became unrecognizable. Only through a series of surgical procedures could it be repaired. But he needed to have a donor for his lost facial bones.

Lilly and her husband Rudy Ross had known each other since high school and were inseparable until Rudy took his own life last year. She consented to have his face donated for a facial reconstruction that was to be done in Mayo Clinic.

face transplant

Charlie Neibergall/AP

Sandness’ surgery took around 60 hours to complete with 50 doctors and nurses attending him. The facial restoration included bone reconstruction and skin grafting to give his damaged face a new look. He said: “You couldn’t ask for a better outcome.”

The face transplant recipient and his donor’s wife recently met in an emotional meeting covered by the same media outlet. Ross was able to touch her husband’s face once again and she said: “It has finally given me closure.”

She even noticed the distinctive gap between Sandness beard that once was her husband’s. Ross said: “That’s why he always grew it so long, so he could try to mesh it together on the chin.”

Sandness and Roos met more than a year after the groundbreaking facial transplant and reconstruction. The two immediately hugged upon seeing each other.

face transplant

Charlie Neibergall/AP

Ross had been fretful prior to the meeting thinking that it would bring the hurtful memories of her husband, but instead, she saw a new man whose life has been turned around by the transplant.

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