Faceless man, Dallas Wiens, gets miraculous transplant surgery

Dallas Wiens, 25, describes his injuries during an interview in Fort Worth, Texas, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Weins was critically burned in a 2008 high-voltage power line accident and is waiting for a face transplant. (AP Photo/LM Otero) (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Dallas Wiens, 25, burn victim
Dallas Wiens, 25, describes his disfiguring injuries during an interview in Fort Worth, Texas, on Oct. 13, 2010. He has since undergone a full face transplant.
AP

(CBS/AP) BOSTON - Dallas Wiens, a Texas construction worker horribly disfigured in a power plant accident two years ago, can finally face his future.

After 15 hours of surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Wiens received the nation's full face transplant. The surgery happened last week, but the team of 30 doctors led by plastic surgeon Dr. Bohdan Pomahac are only beginning to talk about it today.

Wiens is currently listed in good condition.

The 25-year-old suffered an electrical accident in November 2008 that left him blind and without lips, a nose or eyebrows. In Boston, doctors transplanted an entire new face, including a nose, lips, skin and muscles and nerves that animate the skin and give sensation. The donor's identity was not disclosed.

In an Associated Press story and a YouTube video last fall, Wiens spoke poignantly about why he wanted a transplant and how he wanted to smile again and feel kisses from his 3-year-old daughter. Face transplants give horribly disfigured people hope of a new option "rather than looking in the mirror and hating what they see," he said.

This was the second face transplant the Boston hospital has performed; the previous one was in April 2009 -- the partial replacement of the face of a man who suffered traumatic facial injuries from a freak accident.

The world's first face transplant, also a partial, was done in France in 2005 on a woman mauled by her dog. Doctors in Spain performed the first full face transplant last March for a farmer who was unable to breathe or eat on his own after accidentally shooting himself in the face.

  • Neil Katz

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