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Plastic Surgery Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Sep 7, 2017 - 10:06:33 PM

Life Changing Facial Reconstructive Surgery

By Staff Editor
Mar 29, 2017 - 11:30:23 AM

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( - After Melissa Dohme was stabbed 32 times by an ex-boyfriend—including one slash across her face that damaged a facial nerve—she never thought she’d survive, let alone be able to smile again.


Years later her story has a happy ending. Dohme met her husband, an EMT who saved her life from the attack. They got engaged. But she had one wish: to smile as she walked down the aisle. Her harrowing tale of survival caught the attention of Tessa Hadlock, MD, the Director of the Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Massachusetts Eye and Ear, who performed facial reconstructive surgery on Dohme in 2015 to give her back her smile.


Inside Edition was there when Dohme went in for the surgery. Eight hours long, the complex surgery involved transplanting muscle from her inner thigh into her face. A year-and-a-half later, the nerves and muscles in her face had healed and were now working properly—and she could smile on her big day.


It’s just one example of the good work facial plastic surgeons are doing every day in their communities. Dr. Hadlock is an active board member of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), the world’s largest association of facial plastic surgeons with over 2,500 facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon members throughout the world.


The AAFPRS offers a humanitarian program called FACE TO FACE, which offers pro bono facial plastic and reconstructive surgery to survivors of domestic violence. Facial plastic surgeons help to repair injuries on the face, head and neck caused by domestic violence. So far, facial plastic surgeons have helped more than 2,500 women since the program’s inception in 1995.


Dr. Hadlock is also a Professor of Otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School. She is a spokesperson for the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and can speak more about this smile-saving surgery or general stories related to facial reconstruction.


To watch Melissa’s story on Inside Edition, click here.


About the AAFPRS

The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is the world's largest specialty association for facial plastic surgery.  It represents more than 2,500 facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons throughout the world. The AAFPRS is a National Medical Specialty Society of the American Medical Association (AMA), and holds an official seat in both the AMA House of Delegates and the American College of Surgeons board of governors. AAFPRS members are board certified surgeons whose focus is surgery of the face, head, and neck. AAFPRS members subscribe to a code of ethics. In addition, the AAFPRS provide consumers with free information and brochures and a list of qualified facial plastic surgeons in their area by visiting the AAFPRS website,



The AAFPRS works hand-in-hand with shelters nationwide to ensure the individual is counseled emotionally, has contacted a domestic violence shelter and is safely out of the violent relationship. Once the individual has begun the inner healing process, they will be referred to a surgeon. Please call 703.299.9291 to learn more information.



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