Wednesday, May 11, 2011

First full face transplant patient makes first public appearance

America's first full face transplant recipient, Dallas Wiens, made his first public appearance at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, according to media reports Tuesday.

Sporting a goatee and dark sunglasses, Wiens, the 25-year-old Fort Worth, Texas, man, said Monday his new face feels natural just weeks after a 15-hour procedure that gave him a nose, lips, skin, muscle and nerves.

Wiens said he was able to smell again and breathe through his nose normally, adding his 4-year-old daughter told him when she saw him after the operation: "Daddy, you're so handsome."
Wiens lost all of his features and eyesight in November 2008 after hitting a power line while painting a church and underwent the transplant in March, 2011.

The operation was paid for by the U.S. Department of Defense which gave the hospital a 3.4 million dollar research grant for five transplants.

Surgeons said the transplant was not able to restore his sight, and some nerves were so badly damaged from his injury that he will probably have only partial sensation on his left cheek and the left side of his forehead.

"The most fun part is to see the next six to nine months when the function will start to come back and when Dallas will start to feel a light touch on his face," plastic surgeon Bohdan Pomahac said. "To me, that's really exciting."

About a dozen face transplants have been done worldwide, in China, the U.S., France and Spain.

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