MACEO, Ky. (AP) -- Mark Tatum's new face looks a lot like his old one, before a flesh-eating fungus ate away his eyes, nose, cheeks and the roof of his mouth.
Like a mask, the newly created prosthetic face he received earlier this month fits neatly over the hole. Silicone skin blends with Tatum's skin tone, eyebrows are made from his own hair and the glass eyes, from which he'll never see, match the brown hue of the originals.
"The first thing we did after I got my new face was go to a public restaurant and have a steak dinner," said Tatum who had avoided going out because of his disfiguration. "I felt wonderful; I felt pretty."
Tatum wears rose-tinted shades to take attention away from the mask's unblinking eyes, and he's growing a beard and mustache to cover a faint line between the prosthesis and his natural face.
The mask is one of the largest prostheses ever designed by doctors at the University of Louisville Hospital, where Tatum went after he was diagnosed in February 2000 with mucormycosis, a rare infection caused by fungi commonly found in soil, spoiled food, bread and dust. The fungus infects blood vessels, restricting blood flow to the nose, mouth and eventually to the brain.
It is still unknown how the 45-year-old former security guard contracted the disease.
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