Published: Aug 03, 2011 6:42 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 03, 2011 5:42 PM EDT

JUNO BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Hundreds gathered in Florida to watch the release of a green sea turtle that overcame massive injuries and underwent innovative treatments.
    
Andre, as the 177-pound turtle is known, was set free from Juno Beach on Wednesday morning.
    
He was found more than a year ago, stranded on a sandbar and split open by multiple boat strikes. He had gashes in his shell, a collapsed lung and severe infections. The Loggerhead Marinelife Center put him through a 13-month rehabilitation that included groundbreaking surgeries.
    
An orthodontist installed braces on Andre's shell to help close the gashes. And a technology used to help rebuild the breast tissue of mastectomy patients was employed to help fill in the cavities.
    
The caretakers of the endangered turtle hope he'll begin mating and help his species prevail.

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