Full face transplant for US man

By Michelle Roberts
Health reporter, BBC News

  • Published

A 25-year-old man horrifically injured by an accident involving an electric power line has received a full face transplant in the US.

It took a team of more than 30 doctors over 15 hours to give Dallas Wiens his new face.

Surgeons who carried out the operation at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston have hailed it a success.

It follows nearly a year to the day after the world's first full face transplant in Spain.

Mr Wiens, from Texas, was injured in November 2008 when his head touched a high voltage electrical wire. The burns erased all of his facial features.

The surgery has replaced the nose, lips, skin and muscles as well as the nerves that power them and provide sensation. But, unfortunately, the surgeons were unable to give him new eyes to restore his vision.

His surgeons said: "Dallas is doing great. He's meeting all the milestones that he's expected at the present time.

"He's been on the cell phone with his family."

Mr Weins, who is the father of a young girl, said of his injuries before the operation: "Not being able to be kissed by my daughter is frustrating.

"If she kisses me I hear it and can feel some pressure but I can't really feel her kiss."

Mr Wiens' grandfather, Del Peterson, thanked the doctors who performed the $300,000 transplant, saying: "You have made this day an amazing journey. And you have blessed Dallas' life and we thank you.

"Dallas always said after the injury that he now had a choice: he could just choose to get bitter, or choose to get better. His choice was to get better. Thank God today he's better."

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

The world's first partial face transplant was carried out in France in 2005 on a woman mauled by a dog.

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