The New Stuff

Face Transplant Gives Texas Man a New Life [Video]

BOSTON, Mass. –“Face time” -- A 26-year-old Fort Worth man disfigured during a power plant accident over two years ago has a new lease on life after he received the nation's first face transplant in Boston.

In March, former construction worker, Dallas Wiens entered Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston as the man without a face. Two months later Wiens left the hospital with a new face, which included lips, a beard and eyebrows.

Wiens revealed his new look Monday, saying, he is forever changed and grateful.

“There are no words that can really describe the depth of my gratitude or love that I have for the donor family," he said. "The choice that they made has — in a very real, very great way — changed my life and my daughter's, and so from the bottom of my heart — and I know from the bottom of hers — we want to thank you very much."

Surrounded by his doctors at the news conference, Wiens thanked the doctors and nurses who saved his life at the burn unit at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. . He also thanked UT Southwestern plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Janis, who has presided over many reconstructive surgeries.

The Texas father was severely injured by high voltage line two years ago, which left him blind and without a face.

"I was in a medically induced coma for 90 days after my injury," said Wiens.

When Wiens awoke, he had to face the grim fact that most of his facial features were gone.

Thanks to an anonymous donation and a team of brilliant doctors, Wiens received a received a new nose, lips, skin, muscle and nerves. The 15-hour operation gave Wiens a shot at a brand new life.

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.

"It’s certainly an exciting time to be a plastic surgeon to be on the frontier of something like this," said Dr. Bohdan Pomahac.

Dr. Pomahac said they are optimistic with Wien’s progress and say there were no complications during the surgery.

Wiens' daughter came from Texas to see her father at the Boston-area Hospital.

"I got to see her last week, and she had come up to see me, and she was amazed. She actually said, 'Daddy, you're so handsome,'" Wiens said.

Within a year, Wiens should regain full facial function. He has already regained his sense of smell.

"The first things I was able to smell was hospital lasagna. And you wouldn't imagine -- it smelled delicious," he said.

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