Behind the delicate art of facial reconstruction surgery

Facial reconstruction surgery and face transplants are two of the most delicate medical procedures that can be done.

The first "near-total" face transplant in the United States was performed in 2008 at the Cleveland Clinic, according to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. The patient was Connie Culp, who required surgery after being shot in the face.

SEE ALSO: These antique drug ads recommended some questionable treatments

Facial surgery is naturally a very sensitive procedure. In facial transplant situations, transplant recipients must go through extensive psychological testing, as the procedure and recovery can be emotionally difficult.

The surgery itself is also a delicate process for the surgeons involved, due to the many small and sensitive aspects of the face that must be cared for, including the eyes, nose and many minuscule blood vessels.

At Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham in Birmingham, United Kingdom, employees create models and prosthetics used to perform facial reconstruction operations.

Take a look behind the scenes at the delicate process of preparing for and performing facial reconstructions:

12 PHOTOS
The incredible skills behind delicate facial reconstruction surgery
See Gallery
The incredible skills behind delicate facial reconstruction surgery
An employee works on the model of an eye reconstruction inside the Maxillofacial (Max Facs) Prosthetic Department at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, part of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, in Birmingham, U.K., on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Health care repeatedly appears near the top in surveys of voters' concerns. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An employee works on the model of an eye reconstruction inside the Maxillofacial (Max Facs) Prosthetic Department at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, part of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, in Birmingham, U.K., on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Health care repeatedly appears near the top in surveys of voters' concerns. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A model of an eye reconstruction sits on a bench inside the Maxillofacial (Max Facs) Prosthetic Department at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, part of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, in Birmingham, U.K., on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Health care repeatedly appears near the top in surveys of voters' concerns. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Satyesh Parmar, consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon, holds a plastic plate as he performs a facial reconstruction operation to move part of a patient's hip bone to their face inside a theater at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, part of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, in Birmingham, U.K., on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Health care repeatedly appears near the top in surveys of voters' concerns. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A patient lies on the operating table during his facial reconstruction operation inside theater at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, part of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, in Birmingham, U.K., on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Health care repeatedly appears near the top in surveys of voters' concerns. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Satyesh Parmar, consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon, performs a facial reconstruction operation to move part of a patient's hip bone to their face inside a theater at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, part of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, in Birmingham, U.K., on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Health care repeatedly appears near the top in surveys of voters' concerns. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Surgeons, medial staff and observers gather around a patient during an operation inside theater at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, part of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, in Birmingham, U.K., on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Health care repeatedly appears near the top in surveys of voters' concerns. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Models of skeletal facial structures, produced by a 3D printing machine, sit on a bench inside the Maxillofacial (Max Facs) Prosthetic Department at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, part of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, in Birmingham, U.K., on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Health care repeatedly appears near the top in surveys of voters' concerns. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Models of prosthetic noses sit on a bench inside the prosthetic department at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, part of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, in Birmingham, U.K., on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Health care repeatedly appears near the top in surveys of voters' concerns. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An anesthetist checks information displayed on electronic screens during an operation inside theater at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, part of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, in Birmingham, U.K., on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Health care repeatedly appears near the top in surveys of voters' concerns. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Members of the medical team perform a facial reconstruction operation to move part of a patient's hip bone to their face inside a theater at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, part of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, in Birmingham, U.K., on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Health care repeatedly appears near the top in surveys of voters' concerns. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg via Getty Images
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story