Fort Worth, TX – Modern medicine and determination have resulted in a Fort Worth construction worker becoming the nation's first to receive a full facial transplant. The announcement came Monday in Boston. KERA's Shelley Kofler reports Dallas Wiens is in good condition, already walking and talking on a cell phone.
In 2008 a power line accident left 25-year old Dallas Wiens near death; blind and missing his lips, nose and much of his face.
Last week during a 15-hour surgery doctors at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston used a donor's tissue to reconstruct most of Wiens'features.
Plastic Surgeon Bohdan Pomahac says doctors could not restore Wiens' vision, but he's regained much of his facial sensitivity.
Pomahac: He should regain sensation of his forehead on the right side, right cheek and most of the upper and lower lip. The sensation can return up to 90 percent of normal. He will not look like himself but he will also not look like the donor. There is a component of soft tissues and the bone that are Dallas' own so the tissues are really molded on a new person.
At a press conference in Boston Wiens' grandfather, Del Peterson called the surgery a miracle and told doctors Wiens wants to help them continue their work.
Peterson: Dallas always said after the injury that he now had a choice. He could chose to get bitter or he could chose to get better. His choice was to get better. Please know Dallas intends, once he is able, to become an advocate for facial donations so you and your team can continue to perform miracles for others like Dallas
The Fort Worth dad had no insurance at the time of the accident. The new federal health care law made Wiens' transplant possible because it allowed him coverage under his father's insurance plan.