A construction worker badly disfigured in a power line accident two years ago has received the United States' first full face transplant.
More than 30 doctors, nurses and other staff at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston led by the plastic surgeon Bohdan Pomahac performed the 15-hour operation last week on 25-year-old Dallas Wiens. He was listed in good condition at the hospital.
The world's first full face transplant was performed by doctors in Spain last March for a farmer who was unable to breathe or eat on his own after accidentally shooting himself in the face.
Wiens, of Fort Worth, Texas, was left blind and without lips, a nose or eyebrows after an electrical accident in November 2008. 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.
Wiens has spoken poignantly about why he wanted a transplant and how he wanted to smile again and feel kisses from his three-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.
In April 2009 the hospital partially replaced the face of a man who suffered traumatic facial injuries from a freak accident.