The first facial transplant in the United States: A man gets new face

Nation's first full facial transplant, a success.
Written by Boonsri Dickinson, Contributing Editor

Brigham and Women's Hospital surgeons performed the first full transplant on a patient in the United States.

A 25-year-old man suffered burns during a 2008 horrific construction accident, when a cherry-picker ran into a live wire. The young Texas man suffered significant burns from the high voltage line.

Now, Dallas Wiens has a new face.

More than 30 doctors spent 15 hours putting on the new face, attaching lips, facial skin, checks, muscles and a nose.

He's been on the cell phone with his family, Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a plastic surgeon in the burn unit of the hospital, said during a press conference.

"Today's tremendous news marks a new milestone in Brigham and Women's legacy in transplant surgery. The pioneering achievement accomplished by the entire transplant team is a gift made possible by the most selfless act one human being can do for another, organ donation," said Betsy Nabel, MD, president of Brigham and Women's Hospital, in a statement.

What's next for the Texas man? He still needs to get out of the hospital. After some time, his nerves should have time to heal. Wiens should regain sensation in his face, enough to feel his daughter kiss him again.

The Department of Defense footed the bill for the $300,000 operation. This isn't the first facial transplant though. Last year, the world's first full facial transplant was performed in Spain.

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