Dallas Wiens' face transplant progress revealed in new images

Doctors say every time they see Wiens, he is able to feel and do more. Wiens himself says he can use his face more than he expected.
dallas wiens, face transplant
Brigham and Women's Hospital

(CBS News) In the year since Dallas Wiens became the first American to undergo a full face transplant, he's made much progress along the way with a return of some sensation and movement. Now he has the pictures to prove it.

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Wiens addressed the media today at Brigham and Women's Hospital, where his surgery took place a little more than a year earlier.

"It's an amazing journey," Wiens said the press conference, the Boston Globe reported.

Just how far has he come?

The Associated Press reports Wien feels when his daughter kisses him - and it's brought him to tears on several occasions.

For Wiens' surgery on March 21, 2011, a team of more than 30 physicians, nurses, anesthesiologists and residents worked for more than 15 hours to replace parts of Wiens' face, including the nose, lips, facial skin, muscles of facial animation and the nerves that power them and provide sensation.

And over time he improved. Within four months, Wiens got feeling in the right side of his face, HealthPop reported. In January 2012, 10 months after the procedure, Wiens said he was able to smile.

Wiens is the only face transplant patient in the world who did not have an episode of his immune system rejecting donor tissue, and his doctors called him a model patient, according to the Globe.

"To undergo a face transplant and regain normalcy allows me to do whatever I want to do," Wiens said at the time. "It's a journey that I've just started."

Click here to see Wiens' new pictures, and more amazing face transplants.