Full Face Transplant

Monday, March 21, 2011 - 2:34pm

Update on Texas man who is the first U.S. face transplant recipient.

It's being hailed as a medical miracle. A Texas man has become the first in the country to receive a full face transplant.

Dallas Wiens is a full-time dad to little Scarlette who doesn't seem to see or care about her father's devastating facial injuries.

Dallas Wiens says "I can get kisses from my daughter, but I can't feel them."

Two and a half years ago, Wiens was disfigured at work when his head touched a high-voltage power line.

Plastic Surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Janis says "what he was left with is truly a skeleton or skull on top of a body. The remarkable thing is that his brain was ok and the rest of his body was ok."

Last week, Wiens arrived at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston where he became the nation's first person to receive a full face transplant.

Wiens endured more than 15 hours of surgery while an army of surgeons replaced his nose, lips, and facial muscles and nerves from an anonymous donor.

Dr. Bodhan Pomahac, of the Brigham & Women's Hospital Burn Unit, says "he will not look like himself, but he will also not look like the donor."

Recovery will take months and he will not be able to see. But it's what others see that affects Wiens.

Dallas says "to be able to walk down the street and have people not want to give me a double take, that's an amazing feeling that that's going to happen."

Appearance is one thing but surgeons said it was also critical to focus on other functions of the face.

Dr. Pomahac says "breathing, ability to speak, talk, and integration of all these functions and of course social interaction is also expression of your feelings and emotions."

"Which one is this?" "Cinderella."

It's his role as father and at least in his daughter's eyes prince charming that's gotten him this far and will help as he faces a very long recovery.

The world's first full face transplant was performed last year in Spain.

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