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First full face transplant performed in Boston

by nickj on March 22, 2011

Doctors at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston performed the first full face transplant in the U.S., giving Dallas Wiens, 25, a new face including nose, skin, muscles and lips.

The exact date of the surgery was not released, according to the New York Times, but Wiens is listed in good condition as of Monday, March 21.

The surgery was led by Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a plastic surgeon from Ostrava, north Moravia, Czech Republic, according to the Prague Monitor.

Wiens was a construction worker in Fort Worth, Texas, when an accident involving a high-voltage line left him blind and severely burned. On November 13, 2008, Wiens' head touched the power line when he was on a cherry-picker, according to the Washington Post.

According to Dr. Pomahac, 40, the doctors were not able to bring back Wiens' sight and the nerve damage on the left side of his face and forehead was too great for significant improvement.

However, the success is in the right side of Wiens' face and in his upper and lower lips, which are expected to regain sensation after the surgery.

The transplanted face is from an anonymous donor, matched to Wiens based on race, age, blood type and gender. Wiens' new face will look like a mix between his old face and the new transplanted one, according to Pomahac.

The Boston team consisted of 30 people and this is the seventh face transplant in medical history, according to the Prague Monitor.

In 2009, the U.S. Defense Department granted $3.4 million to Brigham and Women's Hospital for five face transplants. There are others on the list to receive transplants, including a woman whose face was wounded by a chimpanzee.

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