A mother's decision to donate son's face: How doctors approach, support families

Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, a renowned reconstructive surgeon at NYU Langone Health who performs face transplant surgeries, shares how 3-D printing of the donor's face is used to help the family cope.
5:17 | 11/16/18

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Transcript for A mother's decision to donate son's face: How doctors approach, support families
It's just such a loss. That when you just can't. You can't believe that he can't. It from him he can't live constraints. If you die. And you have something that somebody else can use. Why wouldn't you save a life. The doctor said and the doctor was really sweet he actually held my hand and he said do you have any questions tonight so I guess I have. One question said. Wilson Morgantown. So how does that'll work. A leave from my standpoint. Of course we give organs that have faced in. India idea. He now faces. He's like to personal. And especially because Cameron suffered his. Com injury. At the age of 23 which was CH really was when he died. And I just. He can get this case and Willie have beautiful face. It's not an ordinary thing to be asked to donate no. Your loved ones face full first and foremost we've educated a team. Transplant coordinators that are that present that question. That questions not present at the same time that we asked for solid organs. We never want patients that require lifesaving organs. To be compromised if the parents or family or loved ones have been asked for the fix these individuals that have been trained to pass for that remarkable gift. Often told the situation on the patient's. And then it very want to speak to me. We're given the opportunity for meeting. Talk and explain to them what this operation about the common question is what is the identity of this individual and would like. This is going to be my son and my loved one walking around what are the concerns. And in my experience. When the recipient receives the face of a donor it's a blend of two individuals. That person is not the person he was. Kreider his injury and he's not the person. Who donated his face period to separate individuals there are greedy masks that you actually create for the donor correct. My. That's an important element. It's serves two purposes. First though we remove. The donor's face we finished up in the when all the organs are removed. We can close the wounds. But when we remove the face was no wound to close we have an open cavity. And that's very difficult. Four members of our team and our staff and our nursing. In the upper him to see that individual. Leave the operating room with God's throughout their face. And that's why it's important to rebuild that face. And we are very fortunate that we have incredible technology right here on our campus and NYU. Where we can take 3-D photography. And that can be printed in two. High fidelity. 3-D mask. Which is an exact replica of the god takes about 24 hours to print. It's incredibly precise. Goes on the the donor in the patiently through. The second element which is though the foremost important. Is family wishes to have an open casket so it's bad. For sites actually have an open casket. Wit. Over the case correct when we look at individuals that have actually been an open casket most of them there's some change in their. Physical elements of their face. The 3-D mask is far superior. To the patient's actual things there's never enough that we can do for these families it's just another element. For us to show them our level of appreciation. Can you describe what that technology has meant to you I guess it was nice after he. Have been declared dead can't even there was only me that saw him with a mask. Then I could see him. I want now after his heart it's. Did I think it's more important. People who want to have open. Dealings and open caskets next himself immediately looks just like well. It's amazing to me technology has come to that point to the extent that people can see what can be done. They can see their loved once again that they can do everything they would have done. That Allston excellent life. And maybe you can help other practices.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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