NEW YORK, Nov. 29, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- myFace (www.myface.org), the nationally renowned non-profit organization that has helped thousands of children and adults with craniofacial differences, played an integral part in the care of Cameron Underwood, 26, of Yuba City, CA, the most recently announced face transplant patient in the United States.
Underwood's successful 25-hour surgery was performed in January 2018 at NYU Langone Health under the leadership of Eduardo D. Rodriguez, MD, DDS, the Helen L. Kimmel Professor of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and chair of the Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery at NYU Langone. It brought together over one hundred medical professionals from multiple disciplines, joining the ranks of just a few dozen such cases of its kind performed worldwide.
myFace was with Underwood every step of the journey. A short video testimonial of how myFace has impacted Cameron's life can be viewed at www.myface.org/facetransplant. Among the holistic services the organization provided to him and his family:
- helping to manage his pre-operative needs, including coordinating more than 38 free round-trip flights for him and his family from their home in California through the organization's grant with Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program
- supporting speech therapy, orthodontics treatment, nutrition counseling, psychological support services, medical photography, 3-D imaging and prosthetics performed at NYU Langone Health
- providing more than 150 nights of free housing for him and his family while on extensive stays in New York City for pre-surgery, surgery, recovery and follow-up care
A ballistic injury in June 2016 left Underwood's face disfigured. His family reached out to NYU Langone after learning about NYU Langone's first face transplant patient. After meeting with the hospital's multi-disciplinary face transplant team, Underwood qualified as a candidate and he was approved for the groundbreaking operation in July 2017.
Like all patients with whom myFace works, the end goal is to not only help Underwood receive the best medical care possible, but also focus on his overall well-being beyond his medical care. For example, many myFace patients like Underwood experience social isolation and bullying because of their facial differences. The organization has programs like support groups and other services for all members of the family that directly address these issues and others -- so that patients can focus on recovery and adjustment.
"I am so grateful to myFace. The level of care and compassion I received throughout my entire journey has been phenomenal," Underwood said. "With the extensive work they do for people with craniofacial differences every day, I knew that I was in good hands."
"The support myFace provides to reconstructive plastic surgery patients at NYU Langone Health each year greatly enhances their overall experience, emotional well-being, and, most especially, their clinical outcomes," said Dr. Rodriguez. "We are incredibly grateful for this longstanding partnership, and for the many myFace services Cameron and his family have been able to utilize since he became a participant in our face transplant program."
"Facial transplants are not only revolutionary, they also are a unique opportunity to showcase how an exceptional partnership like myFace and NYU Langone Health works with patients in a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach," said Priscilla Ma, Executive Director at myFace. "Our work with Cameron touched almost every single service that we provide to all of our craniofacial patients. We were thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with him and his family."
myFace is a leading non-profit organization dedicated to transforming the lives of patients with craniofacial conditions. Every hour a child is born in the United States with a craniofacial difference, which uniquely impacts both the body and spirit. In the U.S. approximately 600,000 individuals have been diagnosed with a craniofacial condition.
For over 65 years, myFace has worked with these patients and their families to provide comprehensive care by funding medical, surgical, dental, speech and psychosocial services as well as research and public awareness. myFace provides a holistic approach through access to a highly personalized team at the world-renowned myFace Center for Craniofacial Care at NYU Langone Health in New York City. All myFace patients receive the highest level of care, regardless of the type or severity of the anomaly, the length of treatment, or the family's financial situation.
Without our support, having a facial difference can impede the basic functions a child needs to survive and grow, and those affected often experience social isolation or even bullying.
In this past fiscal year, myFace supported and facilitated approximately 7,000 patient consultations and procedures.