Boston Plastic Surgeons Perform First Face Transplant
Dallas Wiens became the first person to receive a full face transplant, after the completion of a 15-hour procedure performed by Dr. Bohdan Pomahac and a team of 30 doctors at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass. last week.
The Texas construction worker, 25, suffered an electrical accident in 2008, leaving him blind and without a nose, lips or eyebrows. Doctors transplanted an entire new face from an undisclosed donor to Wiens skull, including nerves that provide sensation. Dr. Pomahac said they were not able to regain his vision, but explained Wiens should regain up to 90 percent of normal sensation across his right forehead, right cheek, most of his upper lip and entire lower lip.
Weins' surgery was sponsored by the Department of Defense, which has provided $3.4 million to the hospital in hopes of supporting techniques that may one day help soldiers who are subject to disfiguring injuries through their service. Of the nearly 40,000 soldiers wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq, the military estimates that 200 could benefit from facial surgeries, which typically rage from $250,000 to $300,000. “We really want to help them,” Dr. Pomahac told the Boston Globe in 2009. “They have given up their faces for our country."
Wiens is said to be in good condition, with the exception of minor swelling. As he awaits his new face to be revealed, Dr. Pomahac explained Weins will not resemble "either what he used to be or the donor," but rather somewhere in between. —EMILY EXTON