Doctors have reconstructed a man's face with part of his leg bone after half the man's face was literally "blown off" by fireworks.
Doctors said that Taron Pounds was lucky to still be alive after the fireworks explosion at a family party in July. The 22-year-old had been so badly injured that his mother couldn't even recognize him.
He had been celebrating a family wedding at his home when a stray firework exploded into his face on July 7th.
"When I saw Taron he was face down on the ground on his left side, and my brother was there at his head," Taron's mother Tammy Cauthron said, according to news9.com. "There were all kinds of people around him, and he had blood just gushing out of his right ear, his face was covered."
Taron was close to death and had been rushed to the OU Medical Center in Tulsa.
He had suffered severe injuries to his nose, eye, neck and chest and the left side of his face was completely blown off.
After Taron endured one month in intensive care, doctors began shifting their focus to restoring Taron's horribly disfigured face.
"Taron lost a lot of bone and tissue. He is really missing a lot of bone in the left eye area, the nose and the roof of his mouth," said Dr. Trinitia Cannon, an ear, nose and throat specialist at OU Medical Center and one of the lead surgeons in the marathon surgical effort, according to kjrh.com.
"We were able to take bone and skin from his leg, as well as blood vessels that keep that skin alive and we basically reconstruct his face with that," Cannon said.
Two surgical teams worked in tandem, with the first team led by Cannon working on closing the four inch hole in Taron's face, while the second team led by ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. Jose Sanclement harvested bone and tissue from the left leg used by the first team for the facial reconstruction.
"It's basically a transplant," said Sanclement. "We are transplanting a piece of bone to another place in the body. It is sort of like a puzzle finding the right pieces and then when we have the right pieces, we establish blood supply."
Pounds had lost most of the bone that holds and stabilizes his mid-face. He also lost a substantial chunk of his nasal and cheek bones which support his left eye, the roof of his mouth and teeth.
Despite the tragedy, Taron is recovering in the hospital after a 22-hour operation in Oklahoma City on Friday.
Doctors had expressed their satisfaction with Taron's progress as they kept an eye on his blood flow through the surgically inserted blood vessels, skin and bone.
"Mentally and emotionally, he has a lot of healing to go through," said Cannon to KJRH.
Taron will now spend five days in recovery at the hospital before returning home, and his next surgery will most likely be in another two months.
He still cannot see out of his left eye, and doctors are unsure whether his sight can be restored.
Doctors predict that it will still be another six months before Taron will be "cosmetically acceptable" in the long term.
"He has come miles and miles," Tammy said. "Taron has accepted that he's not going to be exactly what you see in this picture ever again. He's changed inside and out. It's life changing. I know he's a much stronger man because of this. His faith is sealed in concrete."