Montreal Plastic Surgeon Performs Ground-Breaking Face Reconstruction

A young man had the right side of his face bashed one night outside a Montreal bar. After several surgeries gone wrong, he found plastic surgeon Daniel Borsuk. He desperately wanted his old familiar face back — without deformities or new scars staring back at him from a mirror.

Borsuk promised to deliver. The resulting scar-free reconstruction procedure performed on October 22 at the Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont is reportedly a Canadian breakthrough in the history of plastic surgery.

Borsuk gained international fame in 2012 as the Canadian doctor on the American medical team that gave a new face to a 37-year-old man horribly disfigured by a gunshot wound. For years, Richard Norris lived as a hermit, covering mirrors and never leaving home without a mask. Then in 2012, a team at the trauma centre at the University of Maryland Medical Centre built him a new facial bone structure, including an upper and lower jaw, then they draped an entire face over it — a flap of skin and muscles, tongue and nose, nerves and blood vessels — the first most comprehensive face transplant ever recorded, during a 36-hour marathon in the operating room.

Trained at McGill University and Université de Montréal, Borsuk was then on a fellowship at the centre, and under the mentorship of Eduardo Rodriguez (now at New York University) who led the team that pioneered the cutting-edge face transplant.