Doctors at a Boston hospital last week performed the first full face transplant in the United States, attaching a donor face to a 25-year-old Fort Worth man whose face was severely burned when his head touched a high-voltage line three years ago.
The operation was funded under a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense as part of the military's efforts to expand research in innovative medical procedures.
In a statement Monday, doctors at Brigham and Women's Hospital said a team of more than 30 surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists and residents worked for about 15 hours to transplant the forehead, nose, lips, facial skin, underlying muscles "and the nerves that power them and provide sensation" from an anonymous donor to Dallas Wiens, a day laborer who was on a cherry-picker Nov. 13, 2008, when his head came in contact with a high-voltage line, Washington Post reports.
Doctors couldn't restore his sight. They expect him to regain most facial sensations eventually. His family is thankful he could get his life back. "Definitely it's a miracle. He is determined to get well and to move on with his life and to make something of his life," said Dell Peterson, Wiens' grandfather. "Thank God today he is better."
It's the second face transplant performed at the Brigham, and the third overall in the country. James Maki, 60, received a face transplant in 2009 in Boston. Connie Culp's partial face transplant took place at the Cleveland Clinic in 2008, according to Bostonist.