TULSA, Okla. - One hour in surgery for each year of his life.
That's how long 22-year old Taron Pounds had to endure an operation designed to return his face to something approaching normal after a fireworks explosion ripped half of it to pieces.
In that marathon surgery performed at the OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City, doctors used part of Pounds' leg to rebuild a number of internal and external structures destroyed in the explosion.
The blast occurred in Inola on July 7th as he celebrated with family members who had gathered for a wedding.
Pounds was reportedly standing directly over a commercial-grade firework when it exploded, shredding the side of his face and badly damaging one eye, his neck and his chest, as well as his hand and arm where he tried to shield himself from the blast.
His own mother, Tammy Cauthron, didn't even recognize him after the blast.
"The left side of his face was peeled back and parts missing," she said. "I mean it was horrible."
Doctors at OU struggled to save Taron's life and once they had him stabilized, the focus turned to restoring him to some semblance of normalcy.
In a statement obtained by KRMG, Dr. Trinita Cannon explained, “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.
“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.”
Pounds faces more surgeries over the next six months to a year to complete the reconstructive work.
Cauthron says the family is touched by and grateful for an immense outpouring of support from people around the world.
"There's a Facebook page with like 2,200 members on it right now," she said, many of the people offering prayers for his recovery.
There have also been blood drives in his name and there will be a "Tributes for Taron" concert to be held at Cain's on January 26th, 2013.