Full Face Transplant Patient Says ‘It Feels Natural’

By Russell Contreras, Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) – The nation’s first full face transplant recipient said the first thing his young daughter told him when she saw him after the operation was “Daddy, you’re so handsome.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker reports

Dallas Wiens, sporting a goatee and dark sunglasses, joined surgeons Monday at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston in his first public appearance since the 15-hour procedure in March.

WBZ-TV’s Peg Rusconi reports

scarlette wiens Full Face Transplant Patient Says It Feels Natural

Scarlette Wiens touches her father's new face. (Photo courtesy: Brigham and Women's Hospital)

“It feels natural,” said the 25-year-old Fort Worth, Texas, man, who received a new nose, lips, skin, muscle and nerves from an anonymous donor. The operation was paid for by the U.S. military, which hopes to use findings from the procedure to help soldiers with severe facial wounds.

Wiens’ features were all but burned away and he was left blind after hitting a power line while painting a church in November 2008.

Surgeons said the transplant was not able to restore his sight, and some nerves were so badly damaged from his injury that he will probably have only partial sensation on his left cheek and the left side of his forehead.

In an Associated Press story and a YouTube video last fall, Wiens spoke poignantly about why he wanted a transplant and how he wanted to smile again and feel kisses from his daughter, Scarlette, who turns 4 next month.

Face transplants give horribly disfigured people hope of an option other than “looking in the mirror and hating what they see,” he said.

He told the AP that his daughter and his faith have kept him motivated.

The surgery was paid for by the Department of Defense, which gave the hospital a $3.4 million research grant for five transplants.

About a dozen face transplants have been done worldwide, in the U.S., France, Spain and China.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

  • KF4766

    ARE YOU KIDDING? I think this is amazing. I wish Mr. Wiens the best.

  • Grow Up

    @matt souza – you are a disgusting human being. This is an event worth celebrating, if not for himself, but for his four year old who still has her daddy.

  • eddwal50

    kudo’s to the surgeons considering what they had to work with good luck to the the people who get the face transplants

  • shotime

    Over time he will gain more control of his facial muscles.

  • terri

    this is a great story….i wish this family good energy ahead, and best wishes!

  • Kathy

    A true miracle! I wish Mr. Wiens and his family nothing but the best. Amazing what the doctor’s did.

  • lieut dan's aunt

    congratulations mr wiens, and bravo to the medical team who helped this man’s daughter give him an early father’s day present by saying “you’re so handsome.” the us medical community is sharing it’s skill/talent by helping re-construct many lives either damaged by accident, or man’s inhumanity to man (e.g. i.e.d’s in iraq, afghanistan). us troops are referring kids back to the states to give them a chance at a normal life. a chance to smile for all of us, and in our mind’s eye see a rainbow.
    please wbz monitor – take away matt souza’s comment

  • Isabel

    This is so wonderful. Good luck to Mr Wiens and his family. I almost started to cry when I read this

  • emom

    This is truly an amazing medical event.. What they have done for this man is so wonderful. They have given him a new life and for his daughter a daddy that was courageous and never gave up.. This opens up the possibility of a whole new kind of medical miracles. I wish Dallas and his entire family a wonderful and brand new life.. Congratulations to Dallas and the entire hospital team that made this possible..

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