17/10/2012 12:35 BST | Updated 17/10/2012 12:50 BST

Richard Lee Norris, Face Transplant Patient Pictured Seven Months After Surgery (PICTURES)

Pictures of a 37-year-old face man injured in a gun accident have been released seven months after he received an extensive face transplant.

Richard Lee Norris lost most of his upper and lower jaws as well as his lips and nose after the incident in 1997.

Norris had lived as a recluse for much for much of his life thereafter, before receiving transplant surgery in March this year.

Richard Lee Norris before his transplant (left) and 114 days after the procedure (right)

On Monday, surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center released pictures of their patient seven months on.

Norris said: “For the past 15 years I lived as a recluse, hiding behind a surgical mask and doing most of my shopping at night when less people were around.

“People used to stare at me because of my disfigurement. Now they stare at me in amazement and in the transformation I have taken. “

Norris began making remarkable strides in his recovery just a week after the 36-hour surgery was carried out.

From left to right: Norris before the accident, before the transplant and in the weeks after surgery

Within a week he was brushing his teeth and shaving.

Dr Eduardo Rodriguez, who led the marathon operation says Norris’s procedure is one of the most extensive because of the inclusion of the tongue and teeth and because the incisions are farther back and less visible.

Norris now has sensation in his face, is able to smile and is regaining his speech.

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Now an golfer and fisherman, he said: “I can now start working on the new life given back to me.”

The first full face transplant was carried out in France in 2005 on Isabelle Dinoire, who was mauled by her dog.

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