Disfigured Fort Worth man gets new face in landmark operation

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on March 21, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Updated Monday, Mar 21 at 7:00 PM

It's considered a major medical breakthrough for the U.S. and for a North Texas man who has received the first full face transplant.

Dallas Wiens, 25, was a construction worker who had an electrical accident at work that changed everything.

It left him severely burned and blind.

Wiens is in Boston, recovering from the nation’s first full-face transplant. He is listed in good condition after a 15-hour surgery last week.

The procedure took place in Boston at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Surgeons removed the entire face of the donor — including the lips and nose, part of the scalp, and all the underlying muscle and nerves.

"That will ultimately provide motion to the face, sensation to the face," said plastic surgeon Dr. Bohdan Pomahac. "I was very pleased with what we were able to do."

The donor face was transplanted directly onto Wiens' as essentially a single piece.

His, grandfather, Del Peterson,  was among the first to see him after surgery.

"When I first saw him after the injury, I had no idea what was going to follow," Peterson said. "But he is determined to get well and move on with his life and make something of his life."

Wiens now has eyelids, which means he could someday have prosthetic eyes to make his face look even better.

He has told News 8 it is not looks he cares about, but his desire to one day feel a gentle kiss on the cheek from his three-year daughter.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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